Let Us Be Your Guide Through the Naturalization Process
You will need a green card, which makes you a lawful permanent resident,
to become a United States citizen through naturalization. After you receive your green card, you cannot immediately apply for citizenship.
Depending on the type of green card and individual circumstances, you
will be required to submit to a waiting period before proceeding with
naturalization and reside in the United States for a majority of that time.
Some common green card scenarios and their corresponding wait time requirements include:
If you have a marriage-based green card, you will need to wait 3 years after receiving your green card.
If you have an individual green card, you will need to wait 5 years after receiving your green card. You will
need to live in the country for at least 2.5 years.
The Application Process
Once you have undergone the mandatory waiting period and meet all other
eligibility requirements, it is time to file the formal application for
naturalization with USCIS. This application is called Form N-400, the
Application for Naturalization. You will also need to pay the associated
filing fees when submitting your application.
Some of the documents you will need to correctly submit Form N-400 include:
A copy of your green card. You will need copies of both the front and back of, your “Permanent
Identification pictures. Two “passport-style” photos
Application filing fee payment. Fee waivers are potentially available to those experiencing financial
hardship or other extenuating circumstances
Evidence of current marital status. This can include certificates confirming marriage, death, divorce, or
If you are applying as a result of serving in the military, you will also
have to provide proof of your qualifying service. If you are seeking exemptions
from the naturalization exam (discussed more below), you will also have
to submit proof of a qualifying medical disability.
It is critical that Form N-400 be submitted accurately and with all of
the necessary documents.
Any errors, mistakes, or omissions can trigger a rejection from USCIS and
force you to start the entire naturalization process over from the beginning. This means you will not only have to fill out a new application, you may
also have to repay filing fees and endure lengthy processing times. Our
Manhattan citizenship attorney can help you and work to ensure Form N-400
is filled out and submitted accurately.
In addition to filing the application, you will also be required to have
your fingerprints taken after you are scheduled by USCIS at a biometrics office.
The Naturalization Exam
You will have to successfully complete a two-part naturalization test at
the time of your USCIS interview. One component assesses English language proficiency, while the other is
a straightforward civics exam. Both portions are brief.
The English test will require you to handwrite any one of three sentences
spoken by the USCIS officer. You will also have to speak aloud one of
three written sentences provided to you.
As of December 1,2020, the civics test will consist of your being given
a series of questions evaluating your understanding of how the United
States government works and the country’s history. These questions
are all straightforward and come from a pool of 128questions
published online, so it is easy to prepare for the exam in advance. You only have to answer
12 questions correctly to pass.
If you do not pass either portion on the first try, you can schedule an
additional attempt at a later date. You may also be able to obtain an exemption for one or both portions of
the test based on your age, length of time present in the United States,
and/or a qualifying medical disability.
Should the USCIS agent still have concerns about your application, they
may schedule a second interview or request additional documentation. Otherwise,
your application will be approved immediately or in the following weeks.