What is the Process of Becoming a US Citizen Called: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen and wondered what the process is called? Well, you’re not alone. Each year, thousands of people from all over the world apply for citizenship in the United States, and the process is known as naturalization. Becoming a naturalized citizen is a life-changing process that requires determination, hard work, and patience. So, what does it take to become a naturalized citizen, and how can you prepare yourself for the journey ahead?

The process of becoming a U.S. citizen might seem daunting at first, but it’s a journey that can lead to incredible opportunities and a better future for you and your family. To start, you must meet the eligibility requirements set by the U.S. government, which includes being at least 18 years old, having a green card or permanent residency status, and residing in the U.S. for a certain amount of time. Once you meet these criteria, you can begin the naturalization process by filling out an application, taking a citizenship test, and attending an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer.

Becoming a naturalized citizen requires a commitment to learning about U.S. history, government, and culture. But that’s not all. You’ll also need to demonstrate your proficiency in English and swear allegiance to the United States. While the process may seem complex, there are resources available to help you every step of the way, including USCIS-approved language and civics classes, as well as legal assistance. By embarking on this journey, you are taking a significant step towards a brighter future and a sense of belonging in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Citizenship Requirements in the USA

Becoming a U.S citizen can be a long and complex process. There are various requirements that need to be met before an individual can become a citizen of the United States. Below are the general eligibility criteria that an individual must meet to qualify for U.S citizenship:

  • The individual must have attained the age of 18 years or more.
  • The individual must be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for a minimum of five years. Alternatively, if the individual is married to a U.S citizen, they can apply for citizenship after being a lawful permanent resident for three years.
  • The individual must have lived for three months or more in the state where they plan to file their citizenship application.
  • The individual must be of good moral character and must not have a criminal record.
  • The individual must be able to speak, read, and write basic English.
  • The individual must pass a Civics exam covering U.S history and government or qualify for an exemption due to a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment.

Meeting these general eligibility criteria is just the first step in a long process to become a U.S citizen. Once these requirements are met, the individual must submit Form N-400, also known as the Application for Naturalization, to USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Fees for Applying for US Citizenship

Applying for US citizenship is a life-changing decision that can come with its own set of challenges and fees. The fees for applying for US citizenship vary depending on different factors such as the type of application, individual circumstances, and location. Here are some of the fees associated with the process:

  • USCIS Application Fee: The USCIS application fee is a mandatory fee that applies to all applicants. As of 2021, this fee is $725, which includes the application cost and biometrics fee.
  • Biometrics Fee: The biometrics fee is a non-refundable fee payable by all applicants who are 14 years and above. This fee covers the cost of fingerprinting, photograph, and background checks and is currently $85.
  • Processing Fee: The processing fee is $640 and applies to applicants who are filing for naturalization. This fee covers the processing of the application and the interview, among other costs.

It is important to note that some applicants may also be eligible for a fee waiver if they meet specific income guidelines and can demonstrate a financial hardship. Additionally, there may be additional fees for legal assistance or preparation of the application.

Here is an overview of some of the fees associated with the process of becoming a US citizen:

Fee Type Fee Amount
Application Fee $725
Biometrics Fee $85
Processing Fee (naturalization) $640

Applying for US citizenship is a significant step towards living the American dream. While the process may come with fees, the benefits of citizenship are invaluable, such as the right to vote, access to government benefits, and the ability to live and work in the country without any restrictions.

US Citizenship Application Process

Becoming a citizen of the United States is a long and arduous process that requires hard work and dedication. To successfully become a citizen, there are several requirements that must be met.

Requirements for Citizenship

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen)
  • Be able to speak, read, and write basic English
  • Have a basic knowledge of U.S. government and history
  • Be a person of good moral character
  • Be willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States

Application Process

The application process for becoming a citizen of the United States is lengthy and complex. It involves several stages and requires the submission of various forms and supporting documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The following are the general steps involved in the application process:

  • Complete Form N-400: This is the Application for Naturalization and is the first step towards citizenship. It requires personal information, biographical data, and background information.
  • Submit Supporting Documents: Supporting documents such as a copy of your green card, passport-style photos, and evidence of your residency in the U.S. must be submitted with the application.
  • Attend Biometrics Appointment: Applicants must attend an appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and a signature for background checks.
  • Attend Citizenship Interview: The citizenship interview is a mandatory step that involves answering questions about your background, residency, and character.
  • Pass the Citizenship Test: Applicants must pass both an English language and civics test to demonstrate their knowledge of U.S. history and government.
  • Take the Oath of Allegiance: The final step in the naturalization process is to take the Oath of Allegiance, which is a promise to support and defend the United States.

Citizenship Application Fees

The cost to apply for citizenship is $725, which covers the application fee and the biometrics fee. However, an additional $85 is required if a fee waiver is not granted. Individuals who are 75 years old or older do not have to pay the biometrics fee.

Fees Amount
Application Fee $640
Biometrics Fee $85

Overall, the citizenship application process is rigorous and requires patience and dedication. However, once completed, it provides individuals with the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that come with being a U.S. citizen.

Eligibility for US citizenship through marriage

One of the ways to apply for US citizenship is through marriage to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. This process is known as “naturalization”, which provides the applicant with the same rights and privileges as a citizen born in the United States.

However, not all marriages are recognized under the law for citizenship purposes. If a foreign national marries a US citizen, they may become eligible for citizenship after three years of living in the United States as a permanent resident. On the other hand, if a foreign national marries a lawful permanent resident, they may become eligible for citizenship after five years of living in the US as a permanent resident.

  • The foreign national must be married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident who has been a US citizen for at least three years.
  • The foreign national must have been a permanent resident for at least three years and three months before filing the application, if married to a US citizen. If married to a lawful permanent resident, they must have been a permanent resident for at least five years and three months before filing the application.
  • The foreign national must have lived with their spouse continuously for at least three years before filing the application if married to a US citizen. They must have lived together continuously for at least three years before the lawful permanent resident spouse became a US citizen if married to a lawful permanent resident.

In addition to meeting the requirements above, the foreign national must also meet other eligibility criteria, including passing an English and civics test, demonstrating good moral character, and complying with residency requirements.

It is important to note that fraudulent marriages for the purpose of obtaining US citizenship are strictly illegal and can result in severe consequences. The USCIS closely scrutinizes marriage-based applications for citizenship to prevent fraudulent activity.

Eligibility Criteria Married to US Citizen Married to Lawful Permanent Resident
Length of permanent residency before application 3 years and 3 months 5 years and 3 months
Length of continuous residency with spouse 3 years 3 years before LPR spouse became a citizen

If you are considering applying for US citizenship through marriage, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and to help you navigate the complex application process.

Dual Citizenship in the USA

Dual citizenship is a concept that refers to a person’s citizenship status in two countries, giving them the ability to enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of being a citizen of both countries. In the United States, dual citizenship is recognized, and the government does not enforce any laws that prohibit it.

If you are interested in becoming a US citizen while maintaining your citizenship in your home country, here are some important things you should know:

  • You may acquire dual citizenship automatically, or by applying for citizenship in another country after obtaining US citizenship.
  • Some countries do not recognize dual citizenship. Make sure to check with your home country if they allow it.
  • Having dual citizenship may impact your taxes, travel, and other aspects of your life. Seek advice from a qualified professional to understand the implications.

If you do choose to become a US citizen while maintaining your citizenship in your home country, you will need to follow the same naturalization process as anyone else seeking US citizenship.

You will need to meet the eligibility requirements, including being a legal permanent resident of the United States for a certain period of time, passing an English and civics test, and demonstrating good moral character. You will also need to renounce any allegiance to foreign countries if required.

Overall, dual citizenship can provide many benefits while allowing individuals to maintain their cultural identity and ties to their home countries. However, it is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks and understand the implications before pursuing dual citizenship.

Pros Cons
Ability to vote in both countries Possibility of conflicting obligations to both countries
Ability to travel and work freely in both countries May impact taxes and financial obligations in both countries
Access to social benefits in both countries May impact security clearance and government employment in the US

Ultimately, the decision to pursue dual citizenship is a personal one that requires careful consideration and research.

Importance of Naturalization Ceremony for New US Citizens

The naturalization ceremony is a pivotal moment for individuals who have been granted US citizenship. It marks the end of the long and grueling process of becoming a citizen and is a celebration of their new status as an American citizen. The ceremony is a significant event that recognizes and honors the journey that these individuals have taken to become a part of the American community.

  • Sense of Belonging: The naturalization ceremony is an emotional event for many people. It is an affirmation of their commitment to the United States and a recognition of their desire to be a part of this country. By taking the Oath of Allegiance, new citizens officially become a part of the American community and are given a sense of belonging that they may not have had before.
  • Symbol of Equality: The naturalization ceremony is also a symbol of the equality and inclusivity that is integral to the American identity. Regardless of race, religion, or nationality, every individual who goes through the naturalization process has the same opportunity to become a citizen of the United States. The ceremony illustrates that all citizens are equal and have the same rights and privileges under the law.
  • Pride in Being American: The naturalization ceremony is an opportunity for new citizens to express their pride in being American. By reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem, they show their commitment to the values and principles that make America great. The ceremony is a visible and public expression of their pride, and it brings them into the community of other proud Americans.

The naturalization ceremony is more than just a formality. It is a symbol of everything that is great about America – inclusivity, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. For those who have gone through the process of becoming a citizen, the ceremony is a celebration of everything they have worked for and a symbol of their place in the American community.

Steps in the Naturalization Process Description
Step 1 Submit an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400)
Step 2 Get Fingerprinted
Step 3 Complete an Interview
Step 4 Pass the Naturalization Test
Step 5 Take the Oath of Allegiance

Once an individual has completed these steps, they will receive a Certificate of Naturalization and be invited to attend a naturalization ceremony. This is the final step in the process of becoming a US citizen and marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

Rights and Responsibilities of US Citizenship

Becoming a US citizen is a great honor and responsibility. Once you have become a US citizen, you are entitled to certain rights and responsibilities. Here are the following rights and responsibilities of US citizenship:

  • Right to vote: One of the biggest and most important rights of being a US citizen is the right to vote. Every citizen has the right to vote and make their voice heard during election day. This is essential to the democratic process of our country and it is important that every citizen takes advantage of this right.
  • Right to work: As a US citizen, you have the right to work and earn a living in any part of the country. You can work for any employer without any restrictions and you can also travel out of the country without any restrictions on your employment.
  • Right to a fair trial: Another important right of US citizenship is the right to a fair trial. This means that every citizen has the right to an impartial jury and legal counsel and cannot be subjected to cruel or unusual punishment. This is an important protection to ensure that individuals are treated justly during legal proceedings.

Responsibilities of US citizenship

Along with rights, becoming a US citizen also comes with responsibilities. As a citizen, you are expected to uphold these responsibilities:

  • Pay taxes: All US citizens are required to pay taxes on their income and other earnings. This is essential to support our government and the services it provides to its citizens, such as healthcare, education, and law enforcement.
  • Serve on jury duty: When called, all US citizens are required to serve on jury duty. This is essential to ensuring a fair and impartial legal system that values the input of its citizens.
  • Defend the country: US citizens are also expected to help protect the country if necessary. This includes serving in the military if called upon during times of war or national emergency.

Dual Citizenship

It is possible to have dual citizenship, which means being a citizen of two countries at the same time. This can happen when a person has citizenship in another country and becomes a US citizen without renouncing their prior citizenship. However, it is important to note that there may be some limitations and requirements on dual citizenship and it is important to consult with legal counsel if pursuing this option.


Rights Responsibilities
Right to vote Pay taxes
Right to work Serve on jury duty
Right to a fair trial Defend the country

Becoming a US citizen offers many rights, but also requires certain responsibilities. It is important to understand these rights and responsibilities before taking the oath of citizenship to ensure that you can fully participate in the democratic process and contribute to the betterment of our country.

FAQs: What is the Process of Becoming a US Citizen Called?

Q: What is the first step in becoming a US citizen?
A: The first step is to become a lawful permanent resident, also known as a green card holder. This can be achieved through employment, family sponsorship, or other authorized means.

Q: What is the process of naturalization?
A: Naturalization is the process of obtaining citizenship after living in the United States as a green card holder for a certain period of time. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria and pass tests on English language proficiency and US civics.

Q: How long does it typically take to become a US citizen?
A: The timeline can vary depending on individual circumstances, but it generally takes between three and five years of permanent residency to be eligible for naturalization. The naturalization process itself can take several months to a year.

Q: What documentation is required for citizenship?
A: Applicants for naturalization must provide a variety of documents, such as their green card, a valid ID, tax returns, and evidence of English language proficiency.

Q: Can I lose my citizenship after it is granted?
A: Yes, in rare circumstances, US citizenship can be revoked if it was obtained fraudulently or through other illegal means.

Q: What rights and privileges do US citizens have?
A: US citizens have the right to vote, run for public office, and live and work in the United States without restriction. They also have access to certain government benefits and protections.

Q: How do I get started on the process of becoming a US citizen?
A: The best way to begin is to consult with an immigration attorney or other qualified professional who can guide you through the process and help you determine the right path for your individual situation.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article has provided you with helpful information to better understand the process of becoming a US citizen. Remember, the process can be complex and time-consuming, but the benefits of citizenship are well worth it. Thank you for reading and please visit again soon for more informative articles.