Naturalization is the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. Before you apply for naturalization, you must meet a few requirements. Depending on your situation, there are different requirements that may apply to you. General requirements for naturalization are below.
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “green card”) for at least 5 years.
- Have lived within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing Form N-400.
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Be a person of good moral character.
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
By becoming a U.S. citizen, you too will have a voice in how our nation is governed.
The decision to apply is a significant one. Citizenship offers many benefits and equally important responsibilities. By applying, you are demonstrating your commitment to this country and our form of government.
Below you will find several rights and responsibilities that all citizens should exercise and respect. Some of these responsibilities are legally required of every citizen, but all are important to ensuring that America remains a free and prosperous nation.
To apply for naturalization, you will need to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Be sure that you meet all eligibility requirements before you apply. Certain exceptions and modifications are available to those who qualify. Below you will find a general description of the application process. Items such as a naturalization eligibility worksheet and document checklist are available to help you prepare.
- Freedom to express yourself.
- Freedom to worship as you wish.
- Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
- Right to vote in elections for public officials.
- Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
- Right to run for elected office.
- Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
- Support and defend the Constitution.
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
- Participate in the democratic process.
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
- Participate in your local community.
- Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
- Serve on a jury when called upon.
- Defend the country if the need should arise.
General Steps in the Process
- Determine if you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
- Download Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Complete your application.
- Have two passport-style photographs taken.
- Collect the necessary documents.
- Send your application package and filing fee to the appropriate Lockbox Facility or Service Center.
- Receive an appointment letter for biometric services from USCIS.
- Visit a USCIS fingerprinting location and have fingerprints taken.
- Receive an appointment for an interview with a USCIS Officer.
- Go to your local USCIS office at the specified time.
- Bring state-issued identification, Permanent Resident Card, and any additional documents specific to your case.
- Answer questions about your application and background.
- Take the English and civics tests.
- Await a decision on your case.
The Cincinnati law firm of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd., is prepared to help you with your application for Naturalization. Firm lawyer Thomas Geygan, Jr. has handled hundreds of naturalization cases, including his wife's. For a no-obligation consultation regarding your questions and your rights, contact us at 513-791-1673.