For many longtime immigrants, the journey toward naturalization can be both challenging and rewarding.
If you are on the path to becoming a U.S. citizen, it is important to understand what to expect during this process.
1. What are the eligibility requirements?
Generally, you must have had a green card for at least five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen. Furthermore, you should be at least 18 years old, maintain continuous residence in the United States and have good moral character.
2. What does the application process involve?
The application process begins by filling out Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. Ensure you provide accurate and complete information. After submitting your application, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, you will have your fingerprints, photograph and signature collected. The next steps include completing an interview and taking an English and civics test. If approved, you will receive an invitation to attend a naturalization ceremony. In 2022, 967,500 people participated in these ceremonies, which included taking the Oath of Allegiance and officially becoming a U.S. citizen.
3. How long does it take?
The time it takes to complete the naturalization process can vary depending on the volume of applications. On average, it can take eight to 14 months from the initial application submission to the naturalization ceremony.
Once a citizen, you gain the right to vote in federal elections, the ability to petition for family members to immigrate and access to government benefits. It also provides a sense of belonging and security as a full member of the community.