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7 Necessary Steps to Become a U.S. Citizen

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Becoming a U.S. citizen often seems like an impossible task. U.S. immigration law has many prerequisites for individuals who want to go through the naturalization process. However, becoming a U.S. citizen is much more doable than most immigrants think. By taking the proper steps and having an experienced attorney on your side, you can achieve your dream of becoming a citizen of the United States.

Our Orange County immigration attorneys have put together ten steps every individual should take to become a U.S. citizen and start the naturalization process.

#1: Be Present in the United States

To become a United States citizen, you must already be physically present in the states. You may be a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. who wasn’t a citizen from birth or your parents (a U.S. citizen).

#2: Determine If You Are Eligible

If you are already in the United States, you must determine if you are eligible to become a citizen. Below we have put together a list of the qualifications you must meet to become a U.S. citizen:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older

  • You must be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and have a green card

  • You were a lawful permanent resident for at least three or more years

  • You have not been outside of the U.S. for 30 days or more

  • You must reside in the district or state in which you are applying for citizenship for the last three months

  • You must be able to read, write, and speak basic English

  • You must know the fundamentals of U.S history and the form of U.S. government

  • You must be a person with good moral character

#3: Apply for Naturalization

If you’ve determined that you qualify for naturalization, you can apply by filling out Form N-400. This form is available to file online here (you must create an account). The form will ask you to present certain documents to demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization. The application process must be completed correctly to avoid issues with your approval. For such reasons, it is vital that you have an experienced attorney on your side to guide you through the process.

#4: Submit Your Form & Pay Fees

When you submit your application (Form N-400), you will need to pay the application fee. You can check the application processing times here.

#5: Make a Biometric Appointment (Case-by-Case Basis)

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may require you to take biometrics. During this appointment, the USCIS will collect your fingerprints, take your photo, and have you sign your name for electronic capture. The USCIS will notify you and send you a designated location and scheduled time if you need to take biometrics.

#6: Interview

Once your application has been reviewed, the USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process. You will be given an appointment notice with the time and date. A USCIS officer will ask you questions about your application and background during the interview. You will also need to take the naturalization test made up of an English and civics test.

#7: Await the USCIS’ Decision

After attending the interview, you will need to await the USCIS’ decision. The USCIS will either “grant” or approve your application, continue the application if they need more evidence or information, or deny your application.

If you want to become a U.S. citizen, contact our Orange County immigration attorneys today at (949) 478-4963 for guidance!


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