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How to Apply for Naturalization in the United States


The American Dream has been talked about for generations. However, it means something different to everyone including immigrants. One of the biggest ways of achieving the American dream for immigrants is through naturalization, however, there are several hops, forms, and documents needed to complete this process. Throughout this blog post, we will discuss the ten steps it takes to become a naturalized citizen in the United States. We do recommend that you consult this with an immigration attorney to make sure you qualify as all the cases are not the same.

Step one in the naturalization process is checking your eligibility. Some of the requirements individuals have to meet include but are not limited to having a valid Green Card to prove that you are a lawful permanent resident. You’re a spouse of a U.S. Citizen for at least three years. You have served in the U.S. military. During the last five years, you have not been out of the country for more than 30 months. You can read, write, and speak basic English. We have also found that the worksheet linked below can help individuals identify if they qualify for naturalization. https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/guides/M-480.pdf

Next is completing the correct forms. For naturalization, the form that has to be completed is called the N-400. It is important to make sure you are getting the most recent and up-to-date form off of the USCIS’s website. With the form, you will need to provide two passport-style photos of yourself to send in with your application.

After the form is filled out it is important to make sure you have all the required documentation to go with it. For naturalization applications there are several documents you will have to provide however it is extremely important that you do NOT send in original copies, always send in photocopies to USCIS with your application. Because when it comes time for your interview you may be asked to take in the original documents for verification. Also, if there are any documents that are not in English you must provide a translated copy.

Once all the paperwork is completed and you have your photographs and documents now it is time to get ready to send out your application. First makes sure to have filing fees ready to go, do NOT send cash! Once you have all of that then you can send it to USCIS, make sure that you send it to the right area. This can be found on the USCIS website under N-400.

Once the application has been received USCIS will send you a receipt notice. Make sure you hold onto this and know where it is at. This will have all the information you may need to check your case status. Your case status can be checked online through USCIS’s website you must have your receipt number on hand to be able to check.

The next step will be for you to get fingerprinted. Depending on the last time you got fingerprinted you may or may not have to get fingerprinted, but USCIS will mail you notice either way. What they do with the fingerprints is they run a criminal background check on you. If there is anything major found, they will automatically decline your application however if there are minor crimes found then your application may be delayed but there is still a chance you will pass.

Once your background check has been completed and nothing major was found you will then move on to the Naturalization interview. Once again USCIS will mail you a notice with the date, place, and time once the interview is scheduled. We do advise that you arrive early just in case it takes longer to find the building etc.

During the interview, there are a few things that happen. The officer will ask you a series of questions pertaining to your N-400 application to make sure everything lines up. They will gauge your character, morals, stance towards the U.S. rules and policies, and your willingness to take the oath. Once that is over then you will have to take the English and civics test. The English test will check your ability to understand, read, write, and speak English. The civics test focuses on U.S. laws and regulations, this can range from paying taxes to driving laws.

We highly recommend that study for the English and civics test. Linked below is a blog post we have done in the past talking all about what to expect from the test and where to find studying material. https://www.helmimmigration.com/post/what-to-expect-when-studying-for-your-u-s-citizenship-test

Once the interview is completed then you will wait for a decision on whether you have been accepted or rejected. If the application is accepted, then you will be scheduled to take the Oath. This will look at the notice you got for your fingerprints and interview with the place, time, and date of the oath ceremony.

Once all of those steps are completed you are now a naturalized citizen of the United States!

We know that applying for naturalization can seem overwhelming or not possible however it could be the next step towards the American dream for you and your family. Contact our office today to see how we can help you reach your dreams!

For more information on how we can help you with your immigration matters please give us a call at 307-460-2032 or email us travishelm@outlook.com

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