How can I become a
If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, you may
be eligible to become a citizen through naturalization. People who are 18 years and older
use the "Application for Naturalization" (Form N-400) to become naturalized.
Children who are deriving citizenship from naturalized parents use the "Application
for a Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600) to become naturalized. Call the INS
Forms Line at 1-800-870-3676 to request a Form N-600.
What form do I use to
file for naturalization?
You should use an "Application for
Naturalization" (Form N-400). Call the INS Forms Line at 1-800-870-3676 to request a
Form N-400, or download it from http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/forms/download/n-400.htm.
Where do I file my
should send your completed "Application for Naturalization" (Form N-400) to your
INS Service Center. NIS usually will tell you where your INS Service Center
is when you request Form N-400.
What is the fee for
processing an application?
$225. You must pay your application fee with a
check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars payable to the "Immigration
and Naturalization Service."
Where can I be
INS has received your application, it will notify you of the location where you should get
fingerprinted. For more information about fingerprinting. For more
information, please see the section "Fingerprint".
How long will it take to
The time it takes to be naturalized varies from
one local office to another. In 1997, in many places, it took over 2 years to process an
application. INS is currently modernizing and improving the naturalization process. Within
the next 2 years, INS would like to decrease the time it takes to become naturalized to 6
How do I determine
the status of my naturalization application?
may call the Service Center where you sent your application. (Applicants reported that it was difficult to check the
status of their applications by phone or by mail.)
What if I cannot make it
to my scheduled interview?
It is very important not to miss your interview.
If you have to miss your interview, you should notify the office where your interview is
scheduled by mail as soon as possible. In your letter, you should ask to have your
interview rescheduled. Rescheduling an interview may add several months to the
naturalization process, so try not to change your original interview date. If you miss
your scheduled interview without notifying INS, it will "administratively close"
your case. Unless you contact INS to schedule a new interview within 1 year after INS
closes your case, it will deny your application. INS will not notify you if it closes your
case because you missed your interview.
How do I prepare for the interview?
Books assisting in preparing the interview can
be found in most of the public libraries. Here are some titles:
Voices of Freedom: English
and Civics for the US Citizenship Exam
Questions and Answers on
Complete Guide to Becoming a US
Practice for the US Citizenship
& Legalization of StatusTests
By the People, For the People, the
Peoples Guide to Citizenship
For more detailed preparation, check here.
What do I do if my
address has changed?
If your address changes, you should call the INS
Forms Line (1-800-870-3676) and request an "Alien's Change of Address Card"
(Form AR-11). Complete this form and send it back to INS. This form is pre-printed with
our address on it. It is important to make sure INS has your latest address. If INS does
not have a current address for you, you may not receive important information. For
example, INS may not be able to notify you of your interview date and time.
If INS grants me
naturalization, when will I become a citizen?
You become a citizen as soon as you take the
Oath of Allegiance to the United States. In some places, you can choose to take the Oath
the same day as your interview. If that option is not available or if you prefer a
ceremony at a later date, INS will notify you of the ceremony date with a "Notice of
Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445).
What should I do
if I cannot go to my oath ceremony?
If you cannot go to the oath ceremony, you
should return the "Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445) that INS
sent to you. You should send the N-445 back to your local office. Include a letter saying
why you cannot go to the ceremony. Make a copy of the notice and your letter before you
send them to INS. Your local office will reschedule you and send you a new "Notice of
Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445) to tell you when your ceremony will be.
What can I do if
INS denies my application?
There is an administrative review process for
those who are denied naturalization. If you feel that you have been wrongly denied
naturalization, you may request a hearing with an immigration officer. Your denial letter
will explain how to request a hearing and will include the form you need. The form for
filing an appeal is the "Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization
Proceedings under Section 336 of the Act" (Form N-336).
If I am naturalized, is
my child a citizen?
Usually if children are Permanent Residents,
they can derive citizenship from their naturalized parents. This is true whether the child
is a child by birth or adoption.* In most cases, your child is a citizen if ALL of the
following are true:
The other parent is also naturalized OR you are
the only surviving parent (if the other parent is dead) OR you have legal
custody (if you and the other parent are legally separated or divorced);
The child was under 18 when the parent(s) naturalized;
The child was not married when the parent(s)
naturalized; and The child was a Permanent
Resident before his or her 18th birthday.
If you and your child meet all of these
requirements, you may obtain a passport for the child as evidence of citizenship. If the
child needs further evidence of citizenship, you may submit an "Application for
Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600) to INS to obtain a Certificate of
Citizenship. (Note: the child may obtain a passport or Certificate of Citizenship at any
time, even after he or she turns 18.)
* All adoptions must be completed by the
child's 16th birthday in order for the child to be eligible for any immigration benefit,
If I am
naturalized but the above situation does not apply to me or my child, how can I apply for
citizenship for my child?
In many cases, citizens may apply for
citizenship for their children:
(1) Children by birth or adoption who are
If both parents are alive and still married to
each other, but only one parent is a citizen, you may apply for citizenship for your child
using an "Application for Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600). The child
must meet ALL of the following requirements at the time he or she takes the Oath of
Allegiance (Note: the Oath may be waived if the child is too young to understand it):
- The child is under 18; AND
- The child is not married; AND
- The Child is a Permanent Resident; AND
- The child is in legal custody of the parent who
is a citizen.
(2) Children by birth or adoption who are
NOT Permanent Residents
If at least one of the child's parents is a
citizen, the parent may apply for citizenship for the child using an "Application for
Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600). The child must meet ALL of the following
requirements at the time he or she takes the Oath of Allegiance. Note: the Oath may be
waived if the child is too young to understand it):
- The child is under 18; and
- The child is not married; and
- The child is lawfully present in the United
States in a non-resident status (e.g., with a B-2 or F-1 visa); and
- The child is in legal custody of the parent who
is a citizen;
- The citizen parent has lived at least 5 years in
the United States and at least 2 of these 5 years in the United States were after the
citizen parent's 14th birthday.
In some cases, a child may have a parent who is a U.S.
citizen but who has not lived in the United States for at least 5 years, 2 of which were
after the citizen parent's 14th birthday. In these cases, the U.S. citizen parent may
apply for citizenship for the child using an "Application for Certificate of
Citizenship" (Form N-600). The child must meet ALL of the following requirements at
the time he or she takes the Oath of Allegiance (Note: the Oath may be waived if the child
is too young to understand it):
- The child is under 18;
- The child is not married;
- The child is lawfully present in the United
States in a non-resident status (e.g., with a B-2 or F-1 visa);
- A U.S. citizen parent has a parent (the child's
grandparent) who is also a U.S. citizen;
- The child is in legal custody of the U.S. citizen
parent whose parent is also a U.S. citizen;
- The U.S. citizen grandparent lived at least 5
years in the United States; and
- At least two of these years in the United States
were after the citizen grandparent's 14th birthday.
Should I or how can I
register with selective services?
Selective Service registration allows the United
States Government to maintain a list of names of men who may be called into military
service in case of a national emergency requiring rapid expansion of the U.S. Armed
Forces. By registering all young men, the Selective Service can ensure that any future
draft will be fair and equitable.
Federal law requires that men who are at least
18 years old, but not yet 26 years old, must be registered with Selective Service. This
includes all male non-citizens within these age limits who permanently reside in the
United States. Men with "green cards" (lawful permanent residents) must
register. Men living in the United States without INS documentation (undocumented aliens)
must also register. But men cannot register after reaching age 26.