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Friday, July 26, 2019

The Basics of Naturalization

For many, becoming a U.S. citizen is a long-awaited dream come true. However, the process of naturalization can be complicated and is often not well-understood. As an overview, the first step is to assess your eligibility to apply for naturalization. If you’re eligible, then you will need to file an application for naturalization. After the application has been assessed, you may be invited to attend an interview and then to take an English and civics test on U.S. history, government, and other areas deemed necessary to assimilate. The following subsections will address each step in more detail.

Eligibility

To apply for naturalization, you must first meet several eligibility requirements set out by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”):

  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least five years prior to applying for naturalization
  • You must have been physically present in the United States for at least five years prior to applying for naturalization
  • You must be able to understand and speak English
  • You must be of good moral character

For certain applicants, however, eligibility for naturalization is slightly different. If you are currently married to and living with a U.S. citizen, and you and your spouse have been living together for the past three years, and your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the past three years, then you are only required to have been a permanent resident and have had continuous residence in the United States for three years. Similarly, if you are currently in the U.S. Armed Forces or will be filing your application within six months of an honorable discharge, and you have at least one year of service, then you only need to be a permanent resident at the time of your interview.

Filing for Naturalization

To file for naturalization, you will need to complete Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization), acquire two photographs of yourself that meet USCIS’s requirements, gather all necessary documents related to the application, and then send your application with all documents and filing fees to the relevant service center.

Interview and Tests

Once you’ve filed your application and USCIS has determined your initial eligibility, they will contact you to set up an interview and to take the English and civics test. The interview is designed to determine the sincerity of your claims and the legitimacy of your application. The English test then ensures that you speak and understand English while the civics test ensures that you understand the tenets of American society.

After Completing the Tests

Once you’ve completed the interview and successfully passed the test, you will receive a ceremony date where you will take the oath of allegiance to the United States, submit your permanent resident card, and answer follow up questions to your interview before officially becoming a U.S. citizen.

 


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Serving Southeastern Wisconsin, with offices in Milwaukee and West Bend, Affliated Attorneys, LLC represent clients throughout Milwaukee County, Washington County, Waukesha County, Dodge County, Ozaukee County, Racine County, Sheboygan County, Jefferson County, Fond du Lac County and Walworth County.



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