U.S. Naturalization & Citizenship
There are many reasons one may want to become a U.S. citizen, and you can accomplish that through filing for naturalization.
Naturalization vs. Citizenship
The only difference between naturalization and citizenship is the path that is required to obtain each. Citizenship can only be acquired by those born to U.S. citizens; this includes children who are born outside of the U.S. Those who do not have U.S. citizen parents must go through the naturalization process at a later point in their lives.
Both citizenship and naturalization prove that the holder is a U.S. citizen, and there are no significant differences in the rights that are held by either—both are entitled to travel with a U.S. passport and register to vote. Like those born in the U.S., naturalized citizens cannot be deported or have their citizenship revoked.
Before applying for U.S. naturalization, applicants must ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements devised by Congress through the Immigration and Nationality Act (NIA). In order to qualify for naturalization, one must:
- Be 18 years old at the time they file their Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization)
- Have been a permanent resident with a Green Card for at least 5 years
- OR have been a permanent resident with a Green Card for at least 3 years, while legally married to a U.S. Citizen
- OR if they work in a qualifying service within the U.S. armed forces
- OR their biological or adoptive parents became U.S. citizens before they were born
- Have had continuous residence within the U.S. for the 5 years (or 3 years, if marriage-based) immediately prior to their filing
- Have been physically present in the United States for 30 consecutive months during the 5 years immediately prior to their filing
- Have lived for at least 3 months in the state that they are applying through
- Students may apply for naturalization in the state where they’re attending school or the state in which their family lives (if they are still financially dependent on their family)
- Demonstrate good moral character
- Demonstrate adherence to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
- Demonstrate an ability to read, write, and speak basic English
- Have an understanding of U.S. history and government
- Pledge an oath of allegiance to the United States
Applying for Naturalization
Applying for naturalization is a relatively straightforward process, as long as the applicant meets all eligibility requirements. While the USCIS processing time for naturalization takes around 6 months, the entire process from completing an application packet to becoming a U.S. citizen can take much longer. The naturalization process follows the following steps:
- Determine whether applicant is already a U.S. citizen
- Determine if applicant meets all of the qualifications required for naturalization
- File a Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) application packet, with a processing fee of $725
- Attend a biometrics appointment at the Application Support Center
- Study for the U.S. government and civics interview
- Attend the interview
- If approved, the applicant must pledge an oath of allegiance to the U.S.
- Applicant must demonstrate an understanding of all rights and responsibilities they have as a new U.S. citizen
The naturalization test is administered by a USCIS Officer during the applicant’s interview. The Officer will ask the applicant questions about their background and the N-400 application before providing them with the English and Civics tests. Every applicant must take these 2 tests unless they qualify for an exemption. The English test consists of 3 parts: reading, writing, and speaking. Every applicant is given 2 opportunities to take the 2 tests per naturalization application submitted. If the applicant fails any portion of the test during the interview, they will be retested on the failed portion between 60 and 90 days after their initial interview date.
The speaking test requires the applicant to demonstrate that they have the ability to speak basic English conversationally.
The reading test requires the applicant to demonstrate that they have the ability to read English. They will be given 3 sentences and are required to read at least one of them out loud correctly to the interviewing Officer. The content of the reading questions will largely relate to U.S. civics and history.
The writing test requires the applicant to demonstrate that they have the ability to write in English. Like the reading test, they will be given 3 sentences of which they must write one correctly. The content of the writing test also often revolves around U.S. civics and history.
The Civics test is the last component of the interview process. Before the interview, the applicant will be provided 100 Q&A about important U.S. history and government topics by the attorney’s office. During the interview, their USCIS officer will choose 10 questions from the list. Of these 10, the applicant must answer 6 correctly to pass.
Become a U.S. Citizen
The process of becoming a U.S. citizen can be a daunting one. Tackling the naturalization process can be especially challenging if you’re doing it alone. That is where we come in. At The Batrakova Law Office, our immigration attorney will walk you through the entire naturalization process so that nothing gets missed. We want to help you in every way possible so that you can live the American Dream. Our citizenship lawyers will help you prepare for your naturalization interview and tests so that you can walk in confident and optimistic. Contact us today.