“Naturalization” is what happens to a foreign-born individual when she becomes a U.S. citizen. Although it may sometimes be a long, involved process, naturalization will give you all the same rights you would enjoy if you were been born in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) manages the process, and the final decision will come down to a USCIS officer.


The first step in becoming a naturalized citizen is to make sure you meet all of the requirements. In most cases, you must have a green card, and you must have been a permanent resident of the United States for at least five years. The five-year rule is reduced to three years if you had obtained a green card because you married a U.S. citizen. Further, if you have served in the U.S. military, There is usually no time requirement. However, you must be at least 18 years old and not convicted of a serious crime.  If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can complete and file Form N-400 and submit it to USCIS.

You Must Be Fingerprinted

Naturalization requires fingerprinting. After you have submitted an acceptable application, you will receive a notice from USCIS telling you where and when to go to have this done.

USCIS Interview

After you’ve submitted your naturalization application and had your fingerprints sent to USCIS, an officer will then notify you with a time and place for an interview. The interview involves reviewing your paperwork, as well as taking a test. The test will make certain that you can speak, read, and write English. You will also be tested on your knowledge of U.S. history, as well as the U.S. government system. If you fail the test, you will be assigned a date and time to take it again. Otherwise, you will then receive a notice of when to appear to be sworn in as a citizen of the United States.

As this is just a brief introduction, you may have many questions.  Please contact us at any time to set up a free consultation.