It’s getting easier to apply for U.S. Citizenship, especially now that you can get the paperwork done online. Immigration Direct, in partnership with Rocket Lawyer, can be a good resource. Read on for more information about the naturalization process.
What’s naturalization and how do you qualify?
Most people apply for US Citizenship through a process called naturalization. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to be eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 or older
- Be a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a permanent resident for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of the filing the application
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization
- Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law
How do I apply for naturalization if I qualify?
If you meet these requirements above, you’ll need to apply using the Form N-400 Application and pay the fee (It’s $675 for most people, but it’s less for those over 75 and the fee is waived for military applicants).
The next step is to prepare for the Naturalization Test (a test of English and civics). Note that it’s a good idea to take a practice Naturalization Test before applying, because you’ll be scheduled for an interview (which includes the Naturalization Test) after you submit your Form N-400 Application.
During your interview, your fingerprints will be taken, and you’ll be asked questions about your application and your background. If you pass the Naturalization Test, and your background and application answers are acceptable, you’ll be granted citizenship. If you don’t pass the test, you’ll be able to retake it at a later date, but you won’t be granted citizenship until you pass the test.