How to Apply for US Citizenship: Ways to become a US Citizen, Requirements, Cost & Visa Process
We all know US as a country with so much opportunities for every individual no matter your point of interest and reasons why you would like to stay in US, furthermore becoming a US citizen seems to be a paramount thing that will enable you stay in the country for as long as you like and also enjoy the best of benefits the country has to offer, therefore the big deal here is “how to apply for US citizenship, if you are so much interested in this then maybe you should consider reading more of this article to grab quality information.
U.S. citizenship gives a person as many rights as the U.S. has to offer; the right to vote in U.S. state and federal elections
Also, petition for family members to immigrate to the U.S., and to live abroad without losing the right to return.
Therefore, unless you are among the lucky few who qualify automatically for U.S. Citizenship by Birth or Through Parents, you will need to apply to become a U.S. citizen, through a process known as naturalization.
Before applying, you must first have had a green card (lawful permanent residence) for a number of years and meet other eligibility requirements.
To apply for U.S. citizenship you need to file Form N-400 with the USCIS. This process of applying for U.S. citizenship is called naturalization.
However, before you file the citizenship application with the USCIS, you need to find out if you are eligible to apply for the citizenship.
What is Form N-400 all about? (How to Apply for US Citizenship)
Form N-400 (officially called the “Application for Naturalization”) is a government form used by green card holders who are ready to apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting certain eligibility requirements.
For the first step of “naturalization,” the process of becoming an American citizen is filing the form with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
How long does it take to process Form N-400?
Most probably, the average processing time for Form N-400 is a little over 12 months (as of June 2021).
The speed of processing depends on the USCIS field office handling the application, and some applicants can get a head start on the process.
How much does it cost to file Form N-400?
The current government fee for filing an N-400 is $725, including $640 for processing and $85 for biometrics services, both nonrefundable whether the application is approved or denied.
Who can file Form N-400?
Yes, only individuals who have satisfied the eligibility requirements for naturalization may file an N-400.
However, you must be at least 18 years old and have had a green card for five years (or three years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen).
Can I file my N-400 online? (How to Apply for US Citizenship)
Yes, you may file your N-400 online unless you are applying from abroad or are applying for a fee reduction or waiver, in which case you must use the paper Form N-400 and file by mail.
To apply online, you must create an online account with USCIS and sign your application by putting your full details.
Where should I send my N-400 form?
This depends on whether you file online or by mail. If you’re filing by mail, the USCIS address to send your materials will depend on the state in which you live and the delivery service you choose (U.S. Postal Service vs. FedEx, UPS, or DHL).
If you’re applying based on your (or your family member’s) military service, you will send your N-400 materials to a special address, depending also on the delivery method you choose.
Note: Make sure to make a copy of your completed N-400 before you submit it to USCIS.
How long does it take to get U.S. citizenship?
The average U.S citizenship process is very complicated and may last over one year, it involves several steps and can require a longer time.
The process involves:
- Form N-400 processing time (Application for Naturalization): ten months
- Biometrics appointment: variable, depending on your local district
- Citizenship interview and exam: at least four months
- Receiving a decision letter for your application: up to four months
- Taking the Oath of Allegiance and officially receive your Certificate of U.S. Citizenship: up to 2 months
It may take up to 2 years to naturalize as a U.S. citizen and it is imperative to complete your application correctly the first time.
What are the U.S. Citizenship Requirements? (How to Apply for US Citizenship)
To submit your application for U.S. citizenship, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have established your residency in the same state or district where you intend to apply
- Be able to prove your “good moral character”
- Have lived in the U.S. as a Green Card holder for a certain number of years
- Demonstrate adequate knowledge of U.S. history, customs and the English language
- Register your willingness to perform civil services if required (only for male applicants)
- Swear obedience to the Constitution of the United States.
Documents for U.S. citizenship
When submitting your Form N-400, you can follow this U.S. citizenship documents checklist:
- Two passport-style photos (if you submit your petition from abroad).
- Proof of medical disability (if you wish to request an exemption from the citizenship test based on your health condition).
- A copy of your Green Card (or Permanent Residence Card).
- Proof of your application fee payment.
- Proof of current marital status (even if you are not applying for U.S. citizenship through marriage).
- Fee reduction or fee waiver application (if needed).
- A signed request for representation at your interview (if you wish to be accompanied by your attorney).
NOTE: Your supporting documents must be in the format required by the U.S. government and in an English version as well.
Rights and Benefits of being a U.S. citizen
There are several rights and benefits that you will equally share with all the other citizens if you become a US citizen.
- Freedom to express yourself and your faith
- The right to vote in elections for public officials
- Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
- Freedom to reside and work
- The right to a fair trial by jury
- Right to vote for federal office
US Citizenship Responsibilities and mandatory Duties (How to Apply for US Citizenship)
The duties and responsibilities that you must carry out:
- Participate in the democratic processes of your local community
- Pay your taxes honestly and on time
- Support and defend the Constitution
- Respect others’ beliefs, rights, and opinions
- Serve on a jury when called upon
- Defend your country by military participation if the need should arise
- Respect and obey federal and state laws, and pay the penalties that can be incurred when the law is broken.
Review test to Pass to Become a U.S. Citizen
After submitting your application, you’ll also need to be ready to pass two exams. These will be held during your citizenship interview, at a USCIS office. They are:
- You are able to speak, read, and write in English (with exceptions for certain long-term residents over a certain age, and persons with certain medical disabilities).
- You are able to pass a test covering U.S. history and government (with exceptions for persons with certain medical disabilities).
Eligibility Criteria for U.S. Citizenship
If you meet up with the criteria below then youy have better chances of getting or becoming a US citizen…
- You have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the five years before filing your application.
- Then you have lived in the district or state where you are filing your application for at least three months.
- You are at least 18 years old.
- Have good moral character, for example haven’t committed crimes, failed to pay taxes or child support.
- You have had lawful permanent resident status for at least five years (with exceptions for refugees, people who get their green card through asylum, spouses of U.S. citizens, and U.S. military personnel).
- Have lived in the U.S. continuously for the five years preceding your application, and during that you have not spent more than one continuous year outside the United States.
- You are willing to swear an oath of allegiance saying that you believe in the principles of the U.S. Constitution and will be loyal to the United States.
How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship
If you are ready for this then you should follow up the steps below to know how to apply for the US citizenship.
1: Application for Naturalization (Form N-400)
Your U.S. citizenship application process starts when you submit your form along with the supporting documents to the USCIS.
2: Your biometrics Schedule (How to Apply for US Citizenship)
Here, your fingerprints, photos, and signatures need to be collected as part of your application. You will receive an appointment letter from the USCIS, usually one month after the submission of your application.
Always bring with you your Green Card, at least two forms of ID with your photo and your appointment letter.
Your fingerprints will be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct a background check.
3: Citizenship interview and exam
Just know that after your U.S. citizenship application, you will be summoned for an interview. You will receive a letter from the USCIS with the date and location of your hearing.
If this date does not suit you, you can reschedule your appointment. However, this could be several months in the future.
Typically, your citizenship exam is scheduled on the same day as your interview. If you do not pass your language or civics test, you can retake only the portion of the exam that you failed.
4: Decision Letter
After your exam and interview, the USCIS has four months to finalize its decision. However, within this time, you will receive a Form N-652, also known as “Notice of Examination Results”.
Your application can be approved or denied. In this second case, you will receive another letter explaining what to do next.
If your application is marked as continued, it means that you did not pass your test or that the USCIS needs further documentation to evaluate your case.
5: Taking the Oath of Allegiance and receiving your Certificate of Naturalization (How to Apply for US Citizenship)
Your Oath of Allegiance ceremony will take place about two to six weeks later the approval of your U.S. citizenship application.
The date and the location are reported on the Form N-445 (“Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony”) that you will receive from the USCIS.
If you fail to appear for your naturalization ceremony, your application will be considered invalid. However, you can write a letter requesting a new date explaining your circumstances.
Do your best and follow up all the necessary instructions to be able to secure the US citizenship.