Since the process of naturalization can take more than a year, you are allowed to apply for three months before the expiration of the due date in the status of permanent resident.
So what you need to do for getting the certificate of US citizenship:
- You need to send the filled N-400 form to the local immigration office (registration fee – $ 95).
- You need a card with fingerprints, three photos – the same as for a Green Card, and a copy of the Green Card.
- The application for a child must be accompanied by a birth certificate, a marriage certificate of the parents and a certificate of the parents’ nationality.
- You need to successfully pass all the necessary exams.
- Take the Oath of Allegiance to America.
In New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, applications are mailed to the regional immigration office. In other cities, you can personally apply to the local immigration office
Filling the N-400 immigration form
- In part 3 of the N-400 questionnaire, it is necessary to list the periods of stay abroad during the waiting period. If you make many trips, indicate the approximate number of trips for each year and the duration of each trip. It is recommended to keep a diary of your trips and keep air tickets and boarding passes.
- In part 4 (question B), you must specify a list of your employers. If you received a Green Card on the basis of work, then you must submit tax returns so that the immigration office determines if you worked for your sponsor, and if so, for how long. If you did not work for a sponsor or part with him immediately after receiving a residence permit, the immigration service may suspect you of fraud in order to obtain a Green Card.
- Part 5 contains questions about your marital status. If you received a Green Card on the basis of a marriage with a US citizen, you should be legally married to apply for citizenship three years after receiving a “conditional” permanent status. The Immigration Service will check whether you are married to a US citizen. If not, then you can apply for citizenship in five years, as well as other holders of the Green Card. You must prove that the marriage is factual and is entered into voluntarily. If the immigration service suspects you of marital fraud in order to obtain a residence permit, you are deprived of the right to citizenship and risk losing your permanent resident status.
- Part 7 clarifies the circumstances that may deprive you of the right to citizenship. You will have to prove that you paid income tax in the US as a permanent resident for five years (three years – in the case of a marriage with a US citizen). All questions of Part 7 relate to the general requirement of moral principles. Some serious offenses, especially violent crimes or other facts of your criminal past, can permanently deprive you of the right to citizenship on the basis of a lack of moral standards.
But less serious crimes can be forgiven if they were committed long ago and since then you have not violated the law. If you must answer “yes” to any question in part 7, contact a lawyer before submitting the application.
If you try to hide important information in a questionnaire or in an interview or if your data in a citizenship application is different from the data in a Green Card application, this can cast doubt on not only the right to a nationality but also the status of a permanent resident.
Attention! Exemption from “exclusion” when obtaining a Green Card may not be sufficient for citizenship.
If you receive an exemption from “exclusion” on receipt of the Green Card (Chapter 17), you can still be deprived of the right to citizenship; the requirements for obtaining citizenship are very high, and in addition, you may not have moral foundations, even if you have been released. Your way of life from the date of obtaining a residence permit is very important. If you need to get an exemption for getting a Green Card, consult a lawyer before applying for a citizenship.
- Part 8 contains the question of whether you can swear an oath of allegiance to the United States and fulfill the debt to the country if necessary, including military service. If you can not swear an oath in the army for religious reasons (but not for personal or philosophical beliefs), you may not give this part of the vow. An oath is necessary to obtain citizenship.
The United States does not enforce a compulsory call and does not plan for it in the future. However, men aged 18 to 26 (with Green Cards) must register for military service and submit this registration in an interview for citizenship. You will again be asked for an interview, can you swear an oath of allegiance to the United States. A real oath is given at the ceremony of taking citizenship. The oath implies the rejection of loyalty to the country of which you are currently a citizen.
- Part 10 asks about unmarried children under the age of 18 in permanent status. Note that in many cases a US citizen parent can apply for a certificate of citizenship for the child.
Interviews and exams on history and English
After 3-9 months the application is filed, you will receive a notice of the date of the interview at the local immigration office. (Spouses can be interviewed together if they express this request in the N-400 questionnaires.) The Immigration Service strives to shorten the time for processing applications for citizenship; other authorized agencies may conduct interviews. However, at present, the rules remain the same.
In the interview, the examiner will review your application and ask if you have any obstacles to the Oath of Allegiance.
The examiner can also ask questions about your receipt of the Green Card if some facts indicate immigration fraud. You must confirm the payment of taxes and the availability of registration for military service (if this applies to you).
US Citizenship Naturalization Test 2018 (OFFICIAL 100 TEST QUESTIONS & ANSWERS)
Questions are also raised about your lifestyle in America and moral foundations. If you are divorced, then you must prove the fulfillment of the conditions of divorce (providing for the former spouse and child). If additional documents are required, you will be assigned a second interview.
You also need to demonstrate your ability to read and speak English. (This is not required when receiving a Green Card.)
Permanent residents aged 50 or older who have a residence permit for twenty years, or who are 55 years old or over, who have a Green Card for 15 years, are not required to take an English test. Interviews can take place in your native language with the help of an interpreter. People with physical disabilities or mental illnesses can also be exempt from the exam.
The examiner checks the English language skills during the conversation with you. You will also be asked to read and write a few simple sentences. If you have a problem with English, you can attend special classes to achieve a sufficient level of language knowledge for the interview, since you only need knowledge of the basics. In these schools, you can pass a standard exam and bring results to the interview.
Next, the examiner will check your knowledge of the history and state structure of the United States. You can verbally answer the questions of the examiner or pass a standard test in one of the agencies authorized for such work.
People with physical disabilities or mental illnesses are exempt from the exam. Persons who have reached the age of 65 and older, who are permanent residents for 20 years, must answer correctly only to 6 out of 25 questions. Exempt from the English language test can be answered with the help of an interpreter.
It is easy to prepare for the exam: you simply remember 100 questions and answers before the interview (booklets with questions and answers are given to everyone). Also, you can attend classes or take an exam in special examination centers, in the immigration service.
The examiner usually asks 5-10 questions, and if you answered most of them correctly – you passed the exam.
Questions on history certainly include such as:
- Who was the first president of the United States? (George Washington.)
- Who was President during the Civil War? (Abraham Lincoln.)
- When did America declare independence from England? (July 4, 1776)
Questions about the government include:
- How many states are in the US? (50.)
- How many senators are there in Congress? (100 – two from each state.)
- Who is the president and vice president?
If you know the answers to these questions – you know more than many Americans.
If your application for citizenship is rejected because you do not speak English well enough or have answered questions incorrectly, you can re-apply when you are better prepared.
The Oath of Allegiance to America
If the interview was successful, you will be given the date of the oath ceremony together with the other applicants. In some areas, the ceremony takes place a few months after the interview.
Between the interview and the ceremony, you can travel abroad, but you must meet all the requirements, including living in the US and living in the state.
At the ceremony, you will be asked about the trips made since the interview. You must remain a permanent resident of the state, where you applied for citizenship, before the ceremony.
After the vow, you receive a certificate of citizenship “Naturalization Certificate” (“Naturalization Certificate”, questionnaire N-550).
Mission completed — congratulations
5 Important Steps After Your Naturalization
Immediately after the naturalization, you can apply for a US passport to the passport office. Do not forget to pay taxes! Like permanent residents, US citizens must complete income tax returns no matter where they live and earn money.