Becoming a U.S. citizen is a life dream for many people. If you were not born in the United States and wish to become a U.S. citizen, you will need to file paperwork with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. This article will explain the requirements and the process.
Verify that you meet the requirements to become a U.S. citizen. You must be a lawful permanent resident (have a "green card") before you can apply for citizenship. You must have had your green card for 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen) and you must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half of those years. In addition, you must be of "good moral character." If you have ever lied to the U.S. government or if you have a criminal record, meet with an attorney before applying. You must also demonstrate knowledge of English language, U.S. history and government.
Complete Form N-400. The form can be found on the U.S. CIS website. Mail in the completed application along with a copy of your green card, a check for the appropriate filing fee, and two passport photos of yourself.
Study for the test. You will be tested on basic reading, writing and speaking in English. You will have to write a simple sentence such as "Today is a beautiful day." You will also be tested on U.S. history and government. There are 100 possible questions and you will be asked a random 10 of those questions. You must get a least 6 correct. Attend your interview and oath ceremony!
- If you have ever been arrested, you should see an immigration lawyer before applying. Persons who have criminal records may not only be denied citizenship, but could also risk losing their green card if they apply for citizenship and are found "removable."
- If you have a negative immigration history - such as having lied to an immigration officer - see an immigration lawyer before filing.
- Your application may be rejected if not filled-out completely.
- Send your application by certified mail.
- Keep a copy of your application and proof of mailing.
- Take your green card, passport, drivers license, and social security card to your interview.