Understanding the Naturalization Process
May 20, 2022
For many people, becoming a U.S. citizen is a lifelong goal and one they spend years planning for. The citizenship process can be long and difficult, and you may become frustrated along the way if you experience setbacks. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what to expect and what’s expected out of you to improve your chances of approval when you apply. If you’d like help with the naturalization process, contact us at The Torres Law Firm to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. We’re located in Corpus Christi, Texas, but can serve clients throughout the Fort Worth and Dallas areas.
The Naturalization Process
If you weren’t born in the U.S. or if you didn’t become a citizen after your birth through your parents’ legal standing, you will need to go through the naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen. Only those eligible for naturalization can apply and the first requirement is that you’ve been a permanent resident for at least three years. You must also meet other criteria such as being registered for the Selective Service if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 26, being literate in basic English, and remaining in the U.S. for a set amount of months during your residency. If you have concerns about whether you’re eligible to become a citizen, consult an immigration attorney.
You’ll then need to fill out and submit Form N-400 along with all applicable fees and documents. You may be asked at this stage to schedule a biometrics appointment if the government does not yet have fingerprints on file for you.
The next step is your naturalization test and interview. After these are completed, you should receive a decision on your application. If you are denied, you should consult with your attorney to understand why you did not qualify and when you’ll be able to reapply. If you were given a “continued” decision, it means you were either missing information or you didn’t pass either your interview or civics test. In either case, you will have an opportunity to correct the information or retake the test. If your request was granted, you’ll schedule a time to take the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony where you’ll turn in your green card and receive your naturalization certificate.
The Naturalization Test
One of the most nerve-wracking parts of the citizenship process is the civics and English test. The civics portion is an oral test administered by a USCIS officer who will ask you 20 questions about U.S. history and government. These questions are pulled randomly from 128 test questions and you must answer at least 12 correctly to pass. For the language test, you must show a basic understanding of English in speaking, reading, and writing. The speaking portion is conducted during your naturalization interview. For the other two sections you’ll be asked to correctly read aloud at least one of three sentences, and correctly write one of three sentences.
The Naturalization Interview
You will also have to complete an interview as part of the application process and this will be conducted by a USCIS officer as well. They will ask you basic questions about your background and your application. This usually takes about 20 minutes. The interviewer will also be assessing your spoken English for the language portion of the test.
Let The Torres Law Firm Help You
Applying for citizenship can be an incredibly stressful and exciting time, and you need to be prepared. If your application is denied or delayed, it can take months to get back on track. This not only costs you time but also money since you’ll usually have to pay additional fees. By working with the experienced immigration attorneys at The Torres Law Firm, you’ll have a trusted partner standing by your side. You deserve to reach your citizenship goals. If you’re in the Corpus Christi area or anywhere else in Texas, call us to set up an appointment.