The journey toward becoming a U.S. citizen is a significant and structured process that demands commitment and adherence to various steps.
For those seeking to call the United States their home permanently, the naturalization process stands as a pathway to integration and full participation in the nation’s civic life.
Initial eligibility check
Before embarking on the naturalization journey, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria. This includes holding a valid green card, being at least 18 years old and having lived continuously in the U.S. for five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.
Filing the Form N-400
The next step involves filing Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. This comprehensive form seeks information about the applicant’s background, residence and any potential affiliations with groups contrary to U.S. values. Completing this form accurately is a key step in the process.
After submitting the application, applicants must attend a biometrics appointment. This session involves taking fingerprints and a photo to conduct necessary background checks. This step ensures a thorough examination of an individual’s history in the U.S.
The naturalization interview
Upon successful completion of the background checks, applicants undergo a naturalization interview. This interview assesses the applicant’s understanding of English, as well as their knowledge of U.S. history and government. A passing grade on the English and civics tests is important for moving forward in the process.
Oath of allegiance
The final step in the naturalization process is attending a ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance. This oath signifies a commitment to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States.
In FY 2022, naturalization ceremonies increased by 20% compared to 2021, resulting in 967,500 new citizens. For those ready to start the journey, knowing what to expect can make the process easier.