Naturalization is the process by which residents of the United States become citizens.  Residents must meet specific requirements before being eligible for citizenship.  Besides the required knowledge of  the English language and American government/civics, applicants are also required to be a resident for at least three years (if residency was obtained through marriage to a United States Citizen spouse) or five years (if residency was obtained on own or if applicant divorced United States Citizen spouse).  When determining eligibility for citizenship it is also important to consider the criminal background of the applicant.  While some crimes may be considered “petty offenses” and be overlooked during the final interview, other crimes can result in a denial of citizenship or even render the applicant removable.

The naturalization process typically takes up to the five months from start to finish.  During that five months the applicant is required to attend two appointments with USCIS (immigration).  The first appointment is the collection of biometrics.  During this appointment the applicant appears at their local immigration office at the appointed date and time and an officer takes fingerprints and a photo in order to conduct an FBI background check.  The second appointment is the final interview.  At the final interview, the USCIS officer will review the application and the results of the FBI background check.  The officer will then administer the language and civics tests.  If the applicant is able to answer six out of ten randomly chosen civics questions, the applicant passes.

Approvals are rarely granted during the interview and typically come in the form of a notice in the mail two to three weeks following the interview.  Following the approval notice, a notice indicating the time and place of the citizenship ceremony will arrive in the mail.  At the ceremony the applicant will recite the oath of allegiance to the United States and receive the certificate of naturalization.  With this certificate the new citizen will be able to apply for a US passport.

If you feel you meet the requirements to apply for United States Citizenship, or if you have any questions concerning the naturalization process, please feel free to contact Shryock Law Firm, LLC for a consultation or to start the paperwork.