Requirements for Naturalization
Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States is often a long and arduous process, but one that results in the rights and freedoms that all American citizens share. Immigration issues have become a major issue in our society today, which makes following the legal naturalization process even more important. Knowing what is expected and required is vital to making the process as quick and efficient as possible.
There are several naturalization requirements and documents to complete and fees to be paid before citizenship can be attained. The United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers public information sessions that explain the eligibility requirements, naturalization process and tests, and the rights and responsibilities that come with U.S. citizenship.
Naturalization Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible to apply for naturalization, applicants must possess the following:
- Be 18 years of age
- Hold a permanent residency status for at least five years and show proof of continuous residence for five years in the U.S.
- Proof of residency for a minimum of three months in the state or district of filing
- Demonstrate good moral character and commitment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution
- Be able to speak, read, and write in English
- Have a basic understanding of American history and government
The naturalization process includes the following:
- Determination of citizenship status and eligibility
- Prepare and file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- In-person interview with USCIS that includes an English speaking, reading, and writing test, along with a civics test
- Decision of USCIS on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Notice to take the Oath of Allegiance
- Take the Oath of Allegiance
- Understand legal rights and responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen
Applicants for naturalization can take the English and civics tests twice for each application submitted. Those that fail to pass the tests or any portion of the tests during this time can reschedule testing after a waiting period of 60 to 90 days.
During the naturalization interview with the USCIS agent, applicants will be asked several questions relating to information supplied on their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The questions will pertain to specific information that substantiates the applicant’s identity and explains questions they may have on the background of the applicant. Applicants should bring the following documents and information to this interview:
- Green card
- Valid driver’s license or state issued identification card
- Marriage license
- Income tax returns
- List of international travel over the past five years
- Criminal records such as arrest reports, court dispositions, sentencing reports, and probation records
It is vital for all applicants to bring as many documents to the USCIS interview as possible. Questions that are unanswered during this interview could lead to significant delays in the final USCIS decision on naturalization. Even if the applicant has a past criminal record, court documents and depositions could provide information that warrants approval for naturalization. USCIS information sessions and additional naturalization information can be found on the USCIS website or obtained directly from the USCIS office.
Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Advocate for Those Seeking Naturalization
If you or someone you know is seeking naturalization, call the Philadelphia citizenship lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. at 215-496-0690, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the nation.