Naturalization in USA: step by step plan for 2017

Naturalization in USA (acquiring citizenship) – a long and complicated, from the first sight, process. With lots of stages, nuances and details. From the other side – it’s extremely standardized and clear. Rules don’t change half-way there, they help you preparing, giving guidelines and generally trying not to violate the procedure written down in law.

In this article we’ll tell you what are the stages of naturalization, how much time does it take and what do you need to provide in order to become the USA citizen from the first try.

Let’s start from clarifying who’s legible for this right.

You can become a citizen of USA if you’re a resident with green card on your hands, older then 18, who lives in America last 5 or 3 years – last option if your spouse is already a citizen. Nevertheless, half of this time (2.5 and 1.5 years accordingly) you have to physically be present in USA. And also – live in your state at least 3 last moths before applying.

Additional requirements: an absence of previous conviction (besides minor and expired ones) and high moral qualities. That means you shouldn’t be involved in prostitution, slave trade and illegal gambling. You must not evade taxes and alimony, commit crimes with 5-year imprisonment, get involved with the law for keeping and using drugs. You shouldn’t be an alcoholic, a polygamist or false witness.
If you can tick off all of these points, then congratulations! Be calm to apply your documents for naturalization.

Reference. What does the USA citizenship give you?

  • A right to receive grants and scholarships for studying in American schools, additional benefits and social aid.
  • Visa-free trips to majority of World’s countries.
  • A right to vote.
  • Excludes the possibility of deportation from the country.
  • Opportunity to get employed in bodies of state power.
  • Children of foreigners with American passport can receive USA citizenship independently from the country of birth.
  • Family members of an American can move and receive USA citizenship faster.
  • American can be a member of jury during the trial and take part in federal elections.

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Stages of naturalization


Everything starts with going to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of your state and submitting form N-400. To this add 3 colored photos, a copy of green card and receipt for payment of the consideration of the application. Persons under 75 will have to pay the fee for fingerprinting and then the fee will be $680. For persons over 75 – $595.

Check for criminal background

After your application is accepted, you’ll get an e-mail with an invitation to the closest USCIS office for fingerprinting and other biometrical data. It can happen already after two weeks after applying. Biometrical data will be sent for a check to Federal Bureau of Investigation. They will find out whether you have any previous conviction, offence, tax evasion and other problems. That’s the first stage of waiting which makes people pretty nervous.
On this day you also can receive question-and-answer book about USA culture to prepare for an interview.

Reference: the book includes 100 different questions. You can memorize all of them. A good way – to do it using flash cards: write the question on one side, the answer on the other. Read and rehearse – every day, about six months. After that you’ll know the social structure of USA and names of senators even better then indigenous people.

Pledge of allegiance to the United States

If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approve your application for naturalization, you need to go to a ceremony of taking the pledge of allegiance to the United States. You should come in formal cloth, because in jeans, for example, you may not be let in.

At the pledge you swear your allegiance to the United States of America. Swear to protect the state if necessary.
After the pledge you’ll get a Naturalization Certificate and can right away ask for US passport to the passport office. And then – you can use all of your rights as a citizen of the USA. But also keep the responsibilities – particularly, paying taxes, it’s really strict there.
The whole procedure takes 6-12 months. But some are lucky and only spend 3 months. Timing depends on properly completed application, particular state and USCIS work overload.

At last we prepared the list of small mistakes, cruel and unpredictable, which can delay and intervene the process of naturalization.

  • You haven’t counted down the days of living in USA. It happens, you forgot about a week of absence in the USA, and you get not 2.5 years of residency that are needed, but a bit less. And your application gets declined.
  • Made a mistake in form N-400. Misplaced the questions or didn’t understand one of them correctly. It doesn’t happen with our company, but nevertheless we help to apply correctly.
  • Didn’t take needed documents about taxes, alimony and other to the interview. That’s why your interview can get re-scheduled.
  • Came to the pledge in sports wear. You can be sent back home to change into something more formal. That’s, maybe, the most unpleasant, because you’re already at the finish line.

If you know about other nuances of acquiring citizenship, leave your comments. We’ll be interested to read how everything went for you and people you know.

Complete your immigration paperwork using our online software. We make it easy!

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