Becoming a U.S. citizen can open up many doors to those looking to start a new life in America. Not only is deportation no longer a risk, one is also granted access to vote and becomes eligible to own a U.S passport. Family members of immigrants who have gained their citizenship also benefit, as citizenship becomes more easily accessible to them. In order to become a citizen of the United States, there are a few steps applicants must take. This begins with determining eligibility, filing, fingerprinting, participating in an interview, passing tests that cover knowledge of English and U.S civics and finally, attending their own oath ceremony.
Step One: Determine your Eligibility
The first thing you will need is a U.S. green card to prove you are lawfully permitted to live in America. Most of the time, you will need to get a green card before you can apply for citizenship. The length of time you’ve spent as a green card holder will be a determining factor in your qualification as a candidate, as well as your determined good moral character and your ability to pass a test (in English) on U.S. government, history and more.
Step Two: Determine and Fix any Barriers to Eligibility
You may find that you are currently ineligible to become a U.S. citizen. Some of the reasons for this may be that you have broken your continuity of residence by staying outside of the United States for too long, or that you have committed a minor crime. If so, it does not have to mean that you will not ever be able to be accepted for citizenship. You may just have to wait longer or take other steps that can be determined by consulting an experienced immigration lawyer who can review your particular case.
Step Three: File USCIS Form N-400
Once eligible, the N-400 form must be filed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It will cost $595 to file the application for naturalization, plus an extra $85 fee for biometrics. Send this in with a copy of your green card and once accepted, you will be mailed a date for your biometrics and fingerprinting.
Step Four: Fingerprinting & Background Check
You will be notified of a time and place to be fingerprinted. The FBI will run your fingerprints for a background check so that they can reaffirm your eligibility.
Step Five: Attend your Citizenship Interview
After the background check, you will receive a date and address so that you can meet with a UCSIC officer. There will be an interview in which you will review your N-400 and confirm all of the information on it. You will also be tested by the officer on your knowledge of the English language and U.S. civics.
*Preparing for the Naturalization interview is essential, and there are a number of references online to help you pass.
Step Six: Attend your Oath Ceremony and Receive your Official Documentation
Once approved after the interview, you must complete the process by attending a large public ceremony where you and others will swear allegiance to the United States. It is here where you will be given your certificate of naturalization and become an official U.S. citizen.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Represent Those Looking to Start the Path to Citizenship
Contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. to get started on your journey to become a United States citizen. One of our multi-lingual lawyers will walk you through the process, as well as do our best to help you with any barriers that may stand in your way to citizenship. Call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online.