Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. While people who are born in the U.S. or who are born to U.S. citizens abroad are already citizens, those who come to the United States and who wish to become citizens do so through a legal process.

In order to qualify for naturalization, a person must be at least 18 years old and must have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or have been married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years). Those who meet these qualifications need to follow several steps, including filling out an application form, collecting all of the documentation needed to demonstrate eligibility, and submitting it all to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with all appropriate fees.

Once your application has been received, you will be required to attend a biometrics appointment where you will be fingerprinted and photographed so that the FBI can conduct a criminal background check. This is a required step for all applicants for naturalization. The FBI check must be completed before USCIS will schedule an appointment for an interview, which is the next step in the process. At the interview, you will be asked a series of questions and take an English and civics test. The government provides test preparation materials, and it is strongly recommended that you study. If you fail, you will be scheduled for another opportunity to take the part of the test that you’ve failed. If you fail a second time your application for naturalization will be denied.

If you’ve neglected to provide any of the required information you will be given the opportunity to submit it. After you’ve taken the tests and provided all the required documentation, you will be notified of the USCIS decision on your eligibility for naturalization. If you’re denied you will be told why and will have the opportunity to appeal the decision. If you’re approved, you will be able to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. You are not officially a citizen until you take the oath, administered by USCIS, at a naturalization ceremony. At that point, you will be able to turn in your Permanent Resident Card and receive a Certificate of Naturalization that provides you with all of the rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen.

The immigration process is very challenging and time-consuming, and it can be confusing. If you would like to speak to an immigration attorney who can guide you through this process, contact our office today to set up an appointment.

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