Ready to Become a U.S. Citizen? Take These 5 Steps

Many lawful permanent residents in the United States eventually decide to apply for citizenship. If this is your situation, congratulations! By becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, you will receive the right to vote, apply for a U.S. passport, work for the government, and even petition for family members to join you in the United States.

At Csépes Law, it has been our privilege to help many clients realize their dream of American citizenship. In this blog, we’ll present an overview of the five steps you need to take to make the transition from green card holder to U.S. citizen.

Step One: Verify Your Eligibility

Before you can petition for naturalization, you must satisfy all applicable criteria for eligibility. Depending on your situation, they include:

  • Being a lawful permanent resident for at least five years. If you have served in the U.S. military or are married to a U.S. citizen, the mandatory waiting period is three years. If your spouse is a naturalized citizen, at least three years must have passed since they were sworn in.
  • Physical presence in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the last five years.
  • Being at least 18 years old. 
  • Ability to read, write, and speak basic English.
  • Having a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.
  • Having good moral character.
  • Being willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States.

If you have concerns about your eligibility, speak to a New Jersey immigration attorney. Perhaps you spent too much time out of the country due to a family emergency or you were found guilty of a non-deportable offense like speeding or loitering. Your attorney will advise you on the best way to handle these situations. 

Step Two: File Your Application for Naturalization

Before you file your application for naturalization (Form N-400), make sure that you have lived in the state for at least three months. If you are attending college or university and your parents support you, you may file where you attend school or where they live.

Upon receipt of your complete and correct application, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send you a notice of receipt and provide you with a date and time for your biometrics appointment.

Step Three: Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

At your biometrics appointment, USCIS will take your photograph, fingerprints, and/or signature using specially-designed machines. By providing your digital signature, you are attesting that all information in your petition was true, complete, and correct at the time of filing.

Step Four: Personal Interview

Personal interviews last around 20 minutes. A USCIS officer will go over your application, confirm its contents with you, and test both your English language capabilities and knowledge of U.S. history and civics. If the application is approved, you will be scheduled to appear at a swearing-in ceremony.

Step Five: Attend the Swearing-In Ceremony

You will join several other successful citizenship applicants in a large public ceremony where you swear loyalty to the United States of America. Afterwards, you will be awarded a certificate of naturalization that proclaims you a U.S. citizen.

Contact a New Jersey Immigration Attorney

Many lawful permanent residents dream of becoming a U.S. citizen, and working with an experienced New Jersey immigration attorney can help you confirm your eligibility and comply with all application requirements. At Csépes Law, you will benefit from experienced legal advice, qualified representation, and a sincere interest in helping you achieve your citizenship goals. For more information, please contact us.

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Csépes Law Offices Provides Individualized Legal Solutions To Those Needing Family Law, Immigration, Or Real Estate Counsel.

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