Basic Steps Towards Citizenship

Determine eligibility

You should check the following items to make sure you are not already a U.S. citizen:

  • Were you born in the United States or a United States territory?
  • Are either of your parents a United States citizen?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you do not need to go through the naturalization process. You are already a U.S. citizen. Other eligibility guidelines include:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have held permanent residence status for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)

Prepare and submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

  • In addition to filling out Form N-400, you will need the following items:
    • 2 passport-style photos
    • Any associated documents that Form N-400 requires
    • Necessary fees
    • Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, if applicable. This is for people who want an exception to the English or civics requirements due to physical or mental disability.
  • Submit all of these things to the USCIS for review

Attend possible biometrics appointment

  • All applicants will complete a background check during the application that is reviewed by the FBI. If deemed necessary, USCIS will schedule a biometric interview with you.
  • The USCIS will send you a time, date, and location at which this interview can be completed
  • Biometrics include fingerprints, photos, and signatures

Interview with USCIS

  • Once you have finished your biometrics appointment and your background check was approved, USCIS will schedule an interview with you.
    • Remember to bring your appointment notice with you
    • Do not miss your interview. If you need to reschedule the appointment, you can write to the office of where your interview will take place to ask for a different date. Please note that reschedules may take several months.

Await Granted, Continued, or Denied response from USCIS

  • USCIS may ask you to continue with the application process for any of the following reasons:
    • You fail the English or civics test and need to retake the exam. If you fail twice, your application will be denied.
    • You need additional documentation or evidence for your form application
    • You did not produce the necessary documents
  • If the USCIS approves your Form N-400, you will be granted eligibility for naturalization
  • If the USCIS denies your Form N-400, you will not be eligible for naturalization
    • You may appeal the USCIS decision by submitting Form-N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings within 30 days from hearing about your Form N-400 decision. If you do not file within that time frame and pay the associated fees, you can not appeal the decision.

Take the Oath of Allegiance

  • You will need to take the Oath of Allegiance at an administrative or judicial ceremony which is administered by the USCIS.
  • You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance
    • Complete Form N-455, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony
    • USCIS will review Form N-445
    • Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
    • Take the Oath of Allegiance
  • You will receive a Certificate of Naturalization after taking the oath

Become a U.S. Citizen