flag.gif (9389 bytes)Citizenship

How can I become a naturalized citizen?

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 naturalization application?

You 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 fingerprinted?

After 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 become naturalized?

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 months.

How do I determine the status of my naturalization application?

You 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 American Citizenship
    Complete Guide to Becoming a US Citizen
    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, including naturalization

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 Permanent Residents

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.

(Source: INS)

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