For all its faults and foibles, people all over the world still dream of calling America their home. They long to join family members in America, marry their American partners, build new lives in a free land. Last year, that dream came true for 752,800 immigrants who naturalized, as reported by the Department of Homeland Security. And yet, millions more apply every year, trying to navigate the long and often frustrating road to citizenship.
There are three main steps to applying for U.S. citizenship and many, many steps in between. This guide gives you a high-level look at the process. As you review it, keep in mind that the total time to immigrate to the U.S. and become a U.S. citizen is between six and seven years. Click here to start right now.
You must be a permanent resident of the U.S. (aka having your green card) for five years before you become eligible for naturalization (aka becoming a U.S. citizen). USCIS does permit you to submit your naturalization application up to 90 days before your five-year anniversary.
Are there any exceptions to the five-year rule? Yes, there are:
Next step: You've had your green card for three or five years (or however long USCIS mandates, based on your status), and you'd like to apply for citizenship. Now it's time to file form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. A few important points about the N-400:
1. Biometrics. You will be mailed a date for your biometrics services appointment. This is where USCIS captures your fingerprints, photograph and digital signature to confirm your identity and perform background and security checks.
2. Citizenship Interview After biometrics are collected, you'll get an appointment for a citizenship interview with a USCIS officer. Make sure to bring the list of documents they request and be prepared to go over your application with the officer. You will be sworn in, and the officer will test your knowledge of English and U.S. history and government. SimpleCitizen offers tips to help you pass your citizenship interview.
You are almost a U.S. citizen! The final step is the oath ceremony, where you swear an oath of allegiance to the United States. In some courts, you will swear your oath on the same day as your citizenship interview, but if a same-day oath ceremony is not available, USCIS will notify you by mail of your ceremony date and time.
What happens in the oath ceremony? Before a judge, you will pledge to:
Once you swear your oath of allegiance, you will receive your certificate of naturalization. Congratulations! You are now a full-fledged U.S. citizen with all the rights that grants, including freedom of religion, the right to vote, right to a fair trial, and of course, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
If you need to apply for Citizenship, you basically have the 3 options. You can hire an immigration attorney, fill out the paperwork yourself, or use SimpleCitizen. SimpleCitizen is an online tool that helps you fill out your entire application (All USCIS forms and supporting documents). We'll walk you through every step of the process so that everything is filled out correctly and ready to file.
After you complete the application process, SimpleCitizen will even print, assemble, and ship your application to your address. Once you receive your application, all you have to do is sign the forms and mail it to USCIS. We even attach detailed instructions explaining where and how to send it.
Ready to get started? Click here to begin your application.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should use SimpleCitizen:
• No Errors - Immigration Attorney Review
Have your entire application reviewed by a licensed immigration attorney for only an additional $99.
• 100% Money Back Guarantee
If you prepare your application with SimpleCitizen and it gets denied by USCIS, we will refund you 100% of all government fees and SimpleCitizen service fees (this has not happened to a SimpleCitizen customer yet).
• Take Your Time - Automatically Save your Progress
At anytime while preparing your application, you can save your progress and come back and finish later.
• Prepare Quickly - Easily Upload Supporting Documents
You can add all your supporting documents to your application by taking pictures of them with your phone.
• USCIS Certified - Includes Document Translation
All supporting documents must to be translated into English. SimpleCitizen will have your documents translated by certified translators at no extra cost.
• Automatic Updates - Free USCIS Status Updates
Know instantly when your immigration status changes. SimpleCitizen will automatically send you a text message or email update everytime your USCIS status changes.
The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about citizenship and naturalization. For more help, visit SimpleCitizen's Immigration Forum to post your question about how to become a Citizen.
Click here to take the eligibility quiz to find out if you are eligible to apply for a green card.
If you have any questions about the application process or how to get started, click on the little chat icon in the bottom right hand of the screen to chat with SimpleCitizen support. If you would like to have a consultation with an immigration attorney let us know, and we will connect you with a licensed immigration attorney. You can also email us anytime with your question to: [email protected]
It costs $199 to prepare a completed Citizenship application online with SimpleCitizen. This service fee includes the printing and shipping of your application and automatic text message or email updates of your status until your application is approved. You also have the option to pay an additional $99 to have your application reviewed by a licensed immigration attorney to make sure you did not make any mistakes in your application. Click here to start your application with SimpleCitizen.
If you complete your Citizenship application online with SimpleCitizen and your application is denied, SimpleCitizen will refund you 100% of your preparation fee and your government processing fee. If you think that USCIS was wrong to deny your citizenship application, you may request a hearing with an immigration officer.
Of course! As always, every USCIS form is available to download from USCIS's website. Warning: Do not pay any other website to download the forms. There are several scams online that try to sell these forms. Only download them directly from USCIS if you are going to prepare your application yourself. Note: Preparing yourself does not include any of the benefits of applying with SimpleCitizen listed above (attorney review, document translation, printing, etc.).
You may get a new Certificate of Citizenship by submitting an "Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document" (Form N-565) to USCIS. Submit this form with the appropriate fee to the Nebraska or Texas Service Center, depending on which Service Center has jurisdiction over your residence.
If you apply for Citizenship 6 months or more before the expiration date on your Permanent Resident Card, you have to apply for a new card. However you may apply for a renewal card if you wish by using an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card" (Form I-90) and paying the appropriate fees.
The time it takes to become a Citizen varies by location. USCIS is continuing to attempt to modernize and improve the Citizenship process and currently it takes an average of 6 months to have your Form-400 approved by USCIS.
Our mission is to help our customers through the entire immigration process. We'll be there for you every step of the way, from getting your green card, to eventually becoming a United States Citizen. If you have any questions at any time, you can chat directly with SimpleCitzien support or schedule a consultation with a licensed immigration attorney. Learn more about SimpleCitizen's track record of helping immigrants on our success stories page here.