Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. Naturalization Process FAQ

What is naturalization?
Naturalization refers to the voluntary procedure through which a person acquires American citizenship.
Who is eligible for naturalization?
To become a naturalized citizen of a country, an individual typically must meet specific requirements set by that nation’s government. These requirements often include having resided in the country for a certain period, demonstrating a grasp of the nation’s language, understanding its history and government, and showing good moral character. Applicants usually need to be legal permanent residents or hold a similar status. However, the exact criteria can vary depending on the country in question.
How much does it cost to apply for naturalization?
The filing fee for Form N-400 is $725, which includes a $640 filing fee and an $85 biometric service fee. Fee waivers and reductions may be available for eligible applicants.
What is the naturalization test?
The citizenship test is divided into two sections: one testing proficiency in English (including reading, writing, and speaking skills) and the other evaluating understanding of U.S. history and government, known as the civics test.
How can I prepare for the naturalization test?
USCIS provides study materials for the test on its website. There are also many community organizations and adult education centers that offer preparation classes.
Can my naturalization be denied?
Applications can be denied for various reasons, including failure to meet eligibility requirements, failing the naturalization test, or issues with background checks.
How long does the naturalization process take?
Processing times vary widely depending on location and other factors. It can take anywhere from several months to over a year.
Can I have dual citizenship?
The United States does not formally recognize dual citizenship, but it also does not take any action to prevent it. Many naturalized U.S. citizens retain their previous citizenship.
What if I fail the naturalization test?
If you fail the test, USCIS will schedule you to retake the part(s) you failed. You will be given two opportunities to pass. If you fail on your second attempt, your application may be denied.
How long must I be a permanent resident before applying for naturalization?
Generally, you must be a permanent resident for at least five years. However, if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, the requirement is three years.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to apply for naturalization?
It’s not mandatory, but you may choose to do so, especially if your case is complicated (e.g., you have a criminal record or previous immigration violations).
Can I travel outside the U.S. during the naturalization process?
Yes, but it’s important not to disrupt your continuous residence. Absences of more than six months but less than a year may disrupt your continuous residence unless you can prove otherwise.
Is the naturalization interview difficult?
The difficulty varies. It involves questions about your application and background, as well as the English and civics tests. Being well-prepared can ease the difficulty.
What documents do I need for the naturalization process?
Commonly required documents include your Green Card, passports, tax returns, and documentation of your current marital status and prior marriages, if applicable.
How can I check the status of my naturalization application?
You can check the status of your application online through the USCIS website using your receipt number.
Can I vote before becoming a citizen?
No, only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in federal elections. Voting before citizenship can lead to serious legal consequences.
What is the Oath of Allegiance?
The Oath of Allegiance is a solemn promise often made by new citizens to a country, affirming their loyalty and commitment to uphold the nation’s values and laws. In the context of the United States, it is a pledge to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
What happens if I lie during my naturalization process?
Providing false information or lying during the naturalization process can lead to denial of citizenship and legal penalties, including deportation.

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