What is Naturalization?

Citizens of foreign countries can become legal residents of the U.S. and consequently, U.S. citizens. To become a U.S. citizen, a foreign national must go through the naturalization process. This is the process through which the USCIS grants U.S. citizenship to the foreign citizens who meet certain requirements established by the U.S. Congress.

To apply for naturalization, eligible permanent residents need to file the USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This form must accompany a variety of supporting documents as the applicants need to establish that they meet all the naturalization requirements and that they are eligible for citizenship in the U.S.

You may qualify for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process,

  • if you have been living in the U.S. as a permanent resident for the past five years. (This is the common path to citizenship.)
  • if you received your green card by getting married to a U.S. citizen. In this case you can apply for naturalization under the three year rule and you need to meet the requirements to file N-400 as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.
  • if you have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces.

Naturalization is a multi-step process and does not stop with filing applications. Filing an application is the first step in this process. Once the USCIS accepts the application, it will send a biometrics appointment notice. You need to appear at the application support center mentioned in the notice and submit biometrics information and this is the second step.

The next step in the naturalization interview. This interview is one of the important steps in the process. This interview includes the naturalization test. You need to pass the naturalization test in order to become a U.S. citizen. This test includes the English and the civics components.

The English test is conducted in order to make sure that the applicants have basic knowledge of English. Likewise, the USCIS conducts the civics test to make sure that the applicants are well aware of the country’s history and laws. If you pass these tests and if you are found to be eligible for U.S. citizenship, you will be permitted to take the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony. During the ceremony, you will be issued a naturalization certificate with which you can live in the U.S. as a proud U.S. citizen.