Skip to Main Content

What is the Process for Becoming a U.S. Citizen?

The Center for Immigrant Advancement (CIMA) explains that qualifying immigrants can file for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. What is the process for doing so? There are a number of different steps. Here, our Portland citizenship attorney provides a comprehensive overview of the process for becoming a U.S. citizen throughout the naturalization process. 

Step 1: Confirm You Meet the Eligibility Requirements

Before anything else, you should ensure you meet basic eligibility criteria to become a United States citizen. Most notably, applicants for citizenship through naturalization should: 

  1. Be at least 18 years of age; 
  2. Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder); and
  3. Have held a green card for at least five years. 

You must have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years that you have held your green card. There is an exception to the timeline: You can apply for citizenship after just three years of holding a green card if you are married to an American citizen. 

Step 2: Obtain and Complete the Application for Naturalization

The next step in the application process involves obtaining and filling out the N-400 form, the Application for Naturalization. The application form will ask for detailed information about your background, including your time in the U.S. and your moral character. Always answer honestly. Lack of candor or discrepancies can result in a delay or denial. 

Step 3: Schedule and Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

Once your application for U.S. citizenship is received, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment. During the appointment, your fingerprints, photo, and signature will all be collected. The information is used to verify your identity and conduct a background check.

Step 4: Prove English Proficiency and Pass Your U.S. Civics

Demonstrating your ability to read, write, and speak basic English is a key component of the naturalization process. Beyond that, you will need to pass a civics test that has questions about American history and American government. While you should not stress about the tests, it is important to remember that preparation is key. 

Step 5: Attend Your Citizenship Interview

The final step involves attending an interview with a USCIS officer. You will answer questions about your application and background. You can bring an immigration lawyer with you to the citizenship interview if you are represented. After the interview is complete, you will wait for a decision on your citizenship application from the USCIS. With proper preparation and an effective strategy, you can increase your chances of getting a favorable decision on your citizenship application. 

Get Help from a Citizenship Through Naturalization Lawyer Today

At Vanderwall Immigration, our Oregon citizenship through naturalization attorneys are standing by, ready to protect your rights. Call us now or contact us online to set up your completely confidential, no-obligation initial consultation. From our offices in Beaverton and Salem, we handle citizenship through naturalization cases throughout the area. Si hablamos Español.