What to Expect During the USCIS Naturalization Process
Naturalization is the process through which a lawful permanent resident of the United States can become a U.S. citizen. This is a voluntary act that requires foreign-born applicants to meet mandatory eligibility requirements and follow specific steps to obtain U.S. citizenship.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for administering the naturalization process. Under USCIS guidelines, all applicants must meet all mandatory requirements and eligibility criteria to proceed with their naturalization application.
Who Is Eligible to Apply for Naturalization?
Applicants must meet the following requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have spent 5 consecutive years as a lawful permanent resident, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen
- Demonstrate proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing basic English
- Have lived in the USCIS jurisdiction for at least 3 months prior to filing
- Be of good moral character
Once you meet these requirements, you must follow specific steps to complete the naturalization process, granting you the privilege to vote, work for the government, travel with a US passport, and more.
4 Things to Prepare for When Applying for U.S. Citizenship
Naturalization is the ultimate goal for many immigrants in their families in the United States. From deportation protection to voting rights to economic opportunities, there are numerous benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen. To obtain U.S. citizenship, it’s crucial for noncitizens and their loved ones to adequately prepare for USCIS processes and procedures to maximize their chances of getting approved.
When it comes to applying for naturalization, immigrants can prepare to become U.S. citizens by following these 4 steps:
Stage 1: Complete your application with USCIS.
First and foremost, it’s imperative for immigrants to review all USCIS application instructions and guidelines before applying for naturalization. Part of this entails checking your naturalization eligibility, which can be done online through the official USCIS website. From there, it’s wise to review the following steps in order:
- Review all application instructions.
- Download the naturalization application.
- Prepare two passport-style photos to include.
- Fill out the application completely and correctly.
- Review your work for errors and overlooked sections.
- Submit your application, two photos, and all required documentation with your final application.
From there, it’s essential for applicants to keep their contact information up-to-date as they await a response from USCIS. If you’re unsure of where to file your naturalization application, the USCIS offers this online resource to direct your steps. It’s always best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney ahead of time who can ensure you complete all steps correctly and on time.
Stage 2: Attend your biometrics appointment.
Once USCIS accepts your application, a representative will reach out to schedule a time for your biometrics appointment. This entails obtaining your fingerprints, photograph, and official signature to move forward in the naturalization process.
Applicants should take great care to attend their appointment on time as scheduled and appear with the necessary documentation to avoid delays. Be sure to bring:
- The appointment notice
- Green card (Form I-551)
- A second form of identification (such as a valid U.S. driver’s license, passport, or state identification card)
Stage 3: Prepare for your naturalization interview.
The next step in the naturalization process is to prepare for your naturalization interview. During this time, a USCIS official will question you about your application and background to assess your eligibility for U.S. citizenship. Applicants can also expect to be tested in two categories, including:
- A civics test. This assessment evaluates the applicant’s basic knowledge of U.S. history and government.
- An English test. This 3-part test assesses the applicant’s proficiency in English writing, reading, and speaking.
In some cases, immigrants can qualify for a waiver that exempts them from the aforementioned requirements. It’s important to consult with a trusted lawyer who can provide reliable information regarding USICS procedures and help you obtain a waiver if necessary.
Stage 4: Take the Oath of Allegiance.
After passing the interview stage, USCIS will schedule you for an oath ceremony, where you’ll take an “Oath of Allegiance” to the United States of America. This is a sworn declaration that you’ll support and defend the U.S. Constitution, in addition to renouncing any allegiances you may have to foreign nations or territories.
During the ceremony, you’ll be required to turn in your green card and receive your Certificate of Naturalization. Keep in mind that you cannot change your mind after taking the oath, meaning you must comply with all responsibilities and duties of a U.S. citizen following its completion. With proper preparation, taking the Oath of Allegiance will inevitably be a very proud moment in your hard-fought journey to becoming a US citizen.
Protecting Immigrants & Their Loved Ones in Florida
At Hubbs Law, P.A., we have extensive experience representing immigrants and their families in Miami and beyond. As former prosecutors, our rich and diverse background in immigration law and criminal defense make our powerhouse attorneys well-equipped to represent Florida immigrants in a range of legal disputes, from deportation defense to airport arrests.
Our firm knows firsthand how frustrating and complex USCIS processes can be, which is why we’re here to guide your legal steps with compassion and wisdom to achieve the outcome you desire in court. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers can provide the strong representation you deserve to accomplish your goals and live your American dream. Reach out to our office to learn how we can collaborate with you during this stressful time.
Navigating USCIS processes can be overwhelming for noncitizens and their loved ones. Contact us online to discuss your case with a skilled immigration attorney.