If you were not born in the US or to US parents, you will need to apply for US citizenship through the process of naturalization. This is usually an 8-step process:
- Determine if you are eligible for US citizenship. In general, you must be at least 18 years old and must have maintained a permanent residency in the US (and been a green card holder) for at least five years without leaving the US for more than 6 months at a time. Alternatively, you must be married to a US citizen for at least three years without leaving the US on extended trips. If you are part of the US armed forces, you may be able to qualify for US citizenship without these residency requirements. In addition to residency requirements, you must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the English language and US civics. You must also be of good moral character. You must agree with the US Constitution and must respect the US and be willing to defend and support the US and its Constitution.
- Complete the application form. You will need to file Form N-400 (Naturalization Application Form). You may also be asked to send in supporting documents with your Form N-400. It is important to send all documents as requested.
- Get photos taken. You are required to include two color, passport-type photos with your Form N-400. You can simply go to any business that takes passport photos to get these photos taken.
- Submit your application. You will need to file your completed Form N-400, with the photos and supporting documentation. To do this, you will need to send the completed form, supplementary documents, and filing fee to the correct Service Center indicated on the Form N-400 instructions.
- Go to your fingerprinting interview. Once you have sent in your Form N-400, the USCIS will send you information about the date and location where you will need to go to get your fingerprints taken.
- Pass your citizenship test and interview. You will also receive a notice from the USCIS about your US citizenship interview. You will need to arrive at this interview with your with your passport, re-entry permits (if you have them) and your permanent resident or Alien Registration Card. You will need to answer questions Î“€“ usually similar to the questions on the N-400 Î“€“ about your background and past and you will need to answer questions that show that you understand the English language and US civics. There are citizenship classes in most cities that can help you pass this test.
- Wait. Once you have completed the application process, you will need to wait until the USCIS makes a decision in your case. The USCIS will eventually send you Form N-652, which indicates the results of your US citizenship interview.
- Take part in the US citizenship ceremony. Once you have been approved for US citizenship, the US will send you information about the location and time of your ceremony. You will need to attend the ceremony in order to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States to officially become a US citizen.