Understand the process of filing US Form N400 application for naturalization.

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Published: 01st November 2012
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If you want to become a citizen of another country, apart from the one you were born in and are a citizen of by birth right, you need to go through the naturalization process. Depending on that country the procedure and eligibility criteria differs to apply for naturalization. To become an American citizen the eligibility criteria includes firstly the applicant should be 18 years or above of age and secondly must be a green card holder. Also the applicant should have minimum 5 years of continuous residence in US prior to applying for naturalization. Having good moral character is also very important.

Applicant also should have resided in the state he/she is applying from for minimum 3 months prior to applying. In case the applicant is serving in US armed forces and serving nation from outside US the continuous residence requirement is waved off. So the applicant can file INS N 400 form once he is assured that he is fully eligible and thus avoid the situation where the application is rejected. Depending on the center where you file N400 application for naturalization the processing time varies.

Following are the steps through which each applicant goes through in order to become a US citizen :

1. Get ready to apply : Itís important to first read and understand the whole naturalization process first and foremost. Next you should fill the worksheet available to check your eligibility for naturalization. The next thing you should do is get the N 400 form.

2. Application completion : Completely filling the N400 application is most important to avoid the USCIS from requesting for additional information later. Important to be honest while filling the naturalization form also since same information would be asked during interview later on. Also applicant should make sure to retain a copy of the N400 application form for his/her records. Two passport style color photographs should be included with your application. Along with the naturalization form copies of the green card Form I-551front and back if any document is not in English language applicant should also attach a translation copy of that form in English.

3. USCIS lockbox facility : Next step is to send the Application for US citizenship to respective USCIS lockbox facility that serves the area where the applicant resides. The correct fee for the application should also be attached. Under Sections 328 and 329 of the INA if military applicants are filing for citizenship they do not require a fee.

4. Fingerprinting appointment : Once USCIS receive your application intimation about where and when applicant should have the fingerprints taken will be sent. Applicant must take along with him/her the green card, notice letter and another photo identity proof along while going for the fingerprint appointment. At the said site electronically the finger printing is done. This will be sent to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a back ground check. Once the file is checked and while FBI finishes with the checking the USCIS will send to applicant an interview schedule with the details of when, with date and time information, and where the interview will take place.

5. USCIS interview : Once applicant receives the schedule for interview itís important to attend as per schedule since USCIS sends only once. At least 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled time applicant should report at the specified location. Question about background and N400 form application information would be asked. A test on your English read, write and speaking skills will be conducted and also a civics test based on US history will be conducted. Based on your performance USCIS will inform the results

6. Oath taking : Lastly once all the naturalization formalities are complete the applicant would be asked to come for the oath taking ceremony. Form N-445 would be sent where in the place, time and date information of the ceremony will be mentioned. Also if there the time period between interview and the oath is long question about what applicant did during that period printed on the back of the Form N-445 must be answered by the applicant and brought along for the ceremony. After handing over your green card applicant will speak publicly the oath of allegiance in front of a USCIS official and then be issued the naturalization certificate as proof for her/his US citizenship.

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