How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship After Getting a Green Card

Are you a green card holder who wants to become a U.S. citizen? If so, you may be wondering how to go about the process of naturalisation, which is the legal way of obtaining U.S. citizenship after meeting certain requirements. In this article, we will explain what U.S. citizenship is, why some people want it, and how you can apply for it after getting a green card. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of U.S. citizenship, as well as some alternatives that you may want to consider.

Eligibility Requirements for U.S. Citizenship

Before you can apply for U.S. citizenship, you need to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements set by the U.S. government. These include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having a green card (permanent resident status) for at least five years, or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen
  • Having continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years, or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen
  • Having physical presence in the U.S. for at least half of the required residence period
  • Having good moral character and not having committed certain crimes or violations
  • Being able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Having knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Being willing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and its laws

If you meet these requirements, you can proceed to the next step of applying for naturalisation.

How to Apply for Naturalisation

The process of applying for naturalisation involves five main steps:

Step 1: Complete Form N-400, Application for Naturalisation

The first step is to fill out Form N-400, which is the official application form for naturalisation. You can find this form on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or request a paper copy by mail or phone. You will need to provide information about your personal details, your immigration history, your residence and travel history, your family and marital status, your employment and education history, your tax and military status, your affiliations and memberships, your criminal and civil records, and your oath of allegiance.

You will also need to answer some questions about your eligibility and background, such as whether you have ever been involved in terrorism, genocide, torture, persecution, or any other activities that may affect your moral character or loyalty to the U.S.

You should answer all the questions truthfully and accurately, as any false or misleading information may result in denial of your application or revocation of your citizenship.

Step 2: Submit Your Application and Supporting Documents

The next step is to submit your completed Form N-400 along with the required supporting documents and fees to USCIS. The supporting documents may vary depending on your specific situation, but they generally include:

  • A copy of your green card (both sides)
  • Two passport-style photos
  • A copy of your birth certificate or other proof of identity
  • A copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree (if applicable)
  • Evidence of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship (if applicable)
  • Evidence of your continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S.
  • Evidence of your good moral character and civic involvement
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency and U.S. civics knowledge (if applicable)

The fees for applying for naturalisation are currently $725, which includes $640 for the application fee and $85 for the biometrics fee. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card. You may also request a fee waiver or a reduced fee if you meet certain income or financial hardship criteria.

You can submit your application and documents online through the USCIS website, or by mail to the address specified on the form instructions. You should keep a copy of everything you send for your records.

Step 3: Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

After USCIS receives your application and documents, they will schedule you for a biometrics appointment at a local application support center. At this appointment, you will have your fingerprints, photograph, and signature taken for identity verification and background check purposes. You will also receive a receipt notice that confirms your application and gives you a tracking number.

You should bring your receipt notice, your green card, and another form of identification to your biometrics appointment. You should also follow the instructions on the notice regarding any additional documents or information that you may need to bring or submit.

Step 4: Prepare for Your Interview and Test

The next step is to prepare for your naturalisation interview and test, which will take place at a local USCIS office. The interview and test are designed to assess your eligibility, knowledge, and skills for becoming a U.S. citizen.

The interview will consist of a personal interview with a USCIS officer, who will review your application and documents, ask you questions about your background and eligibility, and verify your identity and oath of allegiance.

The test will consist of two parts: an English test and a civics test. The English test will evaluate your ability to read, write, and speak basic English. You will be asked to read aloud one sentence out of three, write one sentence out of three, and answer some questions in English. The civics test will evaluate your knowledge of U.S. history and government. You will be asked 10 questions out of 100 possible questions, and you need to answer at least six correctly.

You should study for the interview and test by reviewing your application and documents, practicing your English skills, and learning the civics questions and answers. You can find study materials and resources on the USCIS website or other online platforms.

You should also bring your green card, your passport (if you have one), and any other documents or information that USCIS may request to your interview and test.

Step 5: Attend Your Naturalisation Ceremony

The final step is to attend your naturalisation ceremony, where you will take the oath of allegiance and receive your certificate of naturalisation. This is the moment when you officially become a U.S. citizen.

You will receive a notice from USCIS that tells you the date, time, and location of your ceremony. You should arrive early, dress appropriately, and bring your green card, your passport (if you have one), and any other documents or information that USCIS may request.

At the ceremony, you will check in with USCIS officials, return your green card, take the oath of allegiance, receive your certificate of naturalisation, and register to vote (if you wish). You may also have the opportunity to apply for a U.S. passport or update your social security record.

You should keep your certificate of naturalisation safe, as it is an important proof of your U.S. citizenship. You should also celebrate this milestone with your family and friends.

U.S. Green Card

Benefits and Drawbacks of U.S. Citizenship

Becoming a U.S. citizen has many benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before applying for naturalisation. Here are some of them:

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship

  • You can vote in federal, state, and local elections
  • You can run for public office (except for president or vice president)
  • You can obtain a U.S. passport and travel freely around the world
  • You can sponsor your relatives for immigration to the U.S.
  • You can apply for federal jobs and benefits that require citizenship
  • You can participate in jury duty
  • You can enjoy the protection and assistance of the U.S. government when abroad
  • You can express your loyalty and pride in being an American

Drawbacks of U.S. Citizenship

  • You may lose or renounce your original citizenship (depending on the laws of your country of origin)
  • You may have to pay taxes on your worldwide income (even if you live abroad)
  • You may have to register for selective service (if you are a male between 18 and 26 years old)
  • You may have to comply with certain laws and obligations that apply to U.S. citizens (such as filing tax returns, reporting foreign bank accounts, etc.)
  • You may face difficulties or conflicts of interest when dealing with your country of origin or other countries that have different policies or relations with the U.S.
  • You may have to renounce any titles or honors that you have from your country of origin or other countries

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