Naturalization is the process by which a non-citizen becomes a U.S. citizen. Several important steps must be completed to become a naturalized citizen.
Before beginning the process, there are eligibility requirements the person must meet. They must be at least 18 years old, be a lawful permanent resident and continuous resident for at least 5 years or 3 years if they are married to a U.S. citizen and must have physical presence in the United States.
They must also have good moral character, have basic knowledge of U.S. history, read, write and speak basic English and demonstrate support for the U.S. Constitution.
Application and Interview
The naturalization application must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The applicant must pay a fee, provide fingerprints and biometric information. USCIS may request additional information. Then, the applicant will receive a notice to attend an interview.
During the interview, the USCIS representative will ask questions about the applicant’s background and will review the application and its supporting documents. Next, the applicant will be scheduled for a naturalization exam, which involves an English language test and a civics test.
If the applicant passes the test, they will be scheduled for a ceremony where they will take the Oath of Allegiance to pledge to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and laws. They will then receive a Certificate of Naturalization, which is proof of U.S. citizenship.
The process can be lengthy, but once the applicant is a U.S. citizen, they have the right to vote and seek employment that requires U.S. citizenship.