Congratulations on considering the next step toward U.S. citizenship and immigration! The United States has a long history of welcoming new residents to the country. German, Irish, Dutch, and English immigrants helped build the U.S., with a migrating workforce that joined us beginning in the early 1600s.
Today, immigration laws have tightened and there are now very concrete steps you must take to become an American citizen. This short article will review the steps you’ll need to take toward U.S. citizenship and immigration if you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or didn’t acquire citizenship from your parents.
10 Steps Toward Citizenship and Immigration
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have mapped the path to becoming a citizen. There are two qualifications you must meet before starting down the path: You must be 18 years old and have been a permanent resident for five years, or just three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen.
If you’ve met this criterion, follow these steps:
- Download and complete Form N-400.
- Next, purchase two passport photos. Typically, you can get these from a post office or a pharmacy.
- Fill out form N-400, completing each line and providing supporting documentation where requested. The form does allow you to work with an interpreter, but requests their contact information.
- Mail your form with supportive documentation and fees to the appropriate office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
- You will receive a confirmation that they’ve received your application. You can visit www.uscis.gov or call 1-800-375-5283 to check on the status of your application (1-800-767-1833 for the hearing impaired).
- If you are under 75 years old, you will be required to attend a biometrics screening. You will receive a notice of the appointment time. You must attend this meeting, which requires fingerprinting as part of a background check.
- Now it’s time to study for the English and civics test you must pass during the application screening.
- The next step is an interview with USCIS. Again, you will receive an appointment notice and you must show up in order to proceed with the application.
- At the interview you will:
--- Review Form N-400
---Take an English and civic test
- Your USCIS interviewer may not be able to give you same-day test results. If you fail the English or civics test, you can schedule another interview within 60-90 days. You will only be retested on the part you failed.
- You will receive a letter stating whether you were granted citizenship and immigration status or denied.
- If you were granted citizenship, you will attend an oath ceremony. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.
If your application was refused and you’d like to appeal, or if you need assistance working through the USCIS process, contact Katz Law Office, Ltd. for a free 30-minute consultation.