An Overview of the Naturalization Process
1. Completing Your Application and Getting Photographed
If you meet the naturalization requirements, you can start your naturalization process. First, you must fill out N-400 completely. Then, you should get two photographs taken and include them with your application. Collect all the necessary documents that are required by N-400 form. Send your application, documents, and fee directly to the Service Center that serves your area.
You may file for naturalization up to 3 months before you have met the "continuous residence" requirement.
2. Getting Fingerprinted
Once you have filed your application with INS, you will receive a letter from INS telling you where and when to have your fingerprints taken. Follow the direction and get your fingerprints taken.
Sometimes INS may need additional documents from you before scheduling your interview. In this case, provide the required information to INS timely.
3. Being Interviewed
Once everything is ready, INS will schedule you for an interview by sending you an interview notice. You should appear for the interview at the place and time indicated on the interview notice.
During the interview, your ability to read, write, and speak English will be tested (unless you are exempt from the English requirements). You will also be given a civics test (unless you are exempt).
4. Taking the Oath
If INS approves your application for naturalization, you must attend a ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. INS will notify you by mail for the time and date of your ceremony. In some cases, INS may give you the option to take the Oath on the same day as your interview.
Once you take the Oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization. You may use this document as proof that you are a U.S. citizen. You can also obtain a U.S. passport soon after the naturalization ceremony.