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Understanding the process for becoming a U.S. citizen

Perhaps you came to the U.S. for work, to further your education or to be with family. After spending time in America, you may wish to become a U.S. citizen and make your stay more permanent. Regardless of what brought you to the U.S., the naturalization process can be complicated. At U.S. Law Center, we often consult with people in Corona who want to become naturalized citizens, but are unsure of the process. In this post, we will discuss how you go about becoming a citizen of the United States.

If you were not born in the U.S., and at least one of your parents is not a U.S. citizen, then the first step in the naturalization process is to determine your eligibility. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you must generally be at least 18-years-old. Among other eligibility requirements for U.S. citizenship, you must have been a permanent U.S. resident for at least five years. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen, then you only must have lived in the country for three years.

After you have established your eligibility, you are generally ready to begin the application process. In addition to filling out and signing Form N-400, you must also obtain the necessary documentation to prove you are eligible for naturalization. This may include a copy of your green card or other evidence of your consistent residency in the U.S., and your medical records. When submitting your application and supporting documentation, you will typically be required to pay the associated fees.

After filing your application, you may be required to go to a biometrics appointment. At this time, you will be fingerprinted so that the Federal Bureau of Investigation can conduct a criminal background check. Once these preliminary processes have been completed, you will be scheduled for a naturalization interview with an U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, officer. During this interview, you will be asked questions about your application form. With few exceptions, you will then typically be required to take tests on U.S. civics and English. Based on the officer’s decision regarding your interview and your test results, your application for U.S. citizenship will generally be approved or denied.

For more information about how to become a U.S. citizen, please visit our U.S. citizenship and naturalization page.

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