Many people long to become U.S. citizens. Though rules about immigration seem in near constant flux, the naturalization process has remained relatively the same. Naturalization is the process that allows immigrants to become legal U.S. citizens.
To qualify for the process, immigrants must meet several criteria. The applicants must be:
· 18 years old
· A permanent resident of the U.S for the past five years, which means you cannot have left the country for longer than six months during this time
· A permanent resident of the U.S. for the past three years, if you are married to and living with a U.S citizen. Again, you cannot have left the U.S. for longer than six months during this time.
· In the U.S. military and have served for at least one year
· Able to speak and read English
Complete an application
Assuming you meet the eligibility requirements, you must fill out a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You can download the form on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Complete all the information on the form, include any necessary supporting documents and send in the appropriate fees. You can mail in your form or submit it online.
Attend a biometrics appointment
After you have submitted your form, you receive a request for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, you are photographed and your fingerprints are taken. The FBI will use this information to complete a background check on you.
Prepare for an interview and tests
If you pass the background check, you will have an interview scheduled. The interview will include an English and civics test. Your ability to read and write English will be tested. You must be able to sign your name. The civics portion tests your knowledge of the U.S. government and history. You can prepare for these tests through study guides on the USCIS website.
You can appeal a denied application
After your interview, you should find out whether your application for naturalization was approved. If your application is approved, you attend a ceremony to take the oath of allegiance. Following your oath of allegiance ceremony, you are officially a U.S. citizen. If your application for naturalization is denied, you can request a hearing to appeal that decision. You may want to contact an attorney to help you through this process, or if you have questions when completing your Application for Naturalization.