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10 Steps to Naturalization: Understanding the Process of Becoming a U.S. Citizen

To apply for naturalization, submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Below you will find a general description of the application process.

Before you apply, be sure that you meet all eligibility requirements. Check if you qualify for any exceptions and accommodations. You can use the naturalization eligibility worksheet (PDF, 301 KB) and document checklist (PDF, 178 KB) to help you prepare. USCIS has also developed responses to several frequently asked questions related to the naturalization process.

General Steps in the Naturalization Process

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Step 1. Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen.

What to do: If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, or you did not acquire or derive U.S. citizenship from your parent(s) automatically after birth, go to the next step.

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Step 2. Determine if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen.

What to do: Review the naturalization eligibility worksheet (PDF, 301 KB) to help you decide if you are eligible to apply for naturalization.

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Step 3. Prepare your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

What to do: Read the instructions to complete Form N-400. Collect the necessary documents to demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization. If you reside outside the United States, get 2 passport-style photos taken. Use the document checklist (PDF, 178 KB) to make sure you collect all the required documents.

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Step 4. Submit your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and fees.

Once you submit Form N-400, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. You can check case processing times and your case status online.

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Step 5. Go to the biometrics appointment, if applicable.

What to do: If you need to take biometrics, USCIS will send you an appointment notice that includes your biometrics appointment date, time, and location. Arrive at the designated location at the scheduled time. Have your biometrics taken.

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Step 6. Complete the interview.

Once all the preliminary processes on your case are complete, USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process. You must report to the USCIS office at the date and time on your appointment notice. Please bring the appointment notice with you.

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Step 7. Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

USCIS will issue you a written notice of decision.

  • Granted—USCIS may approve your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes that you are eligible for naturalization.

  • Continued—USCIS may continue your application if you need to provide additional evidence/documentation, fail to provide USCIS the correct documents, or fail the English and/or civics test the first time.

  • Denied—USCIS will deny your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes you are not eligible for naturalization.

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Step 8. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.

What to expect: If USCIS approved your Form N-400 in step 7, you may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a same day naturalization ceremony is unavailable, USCIS will mail you a notification with the date, time, and location of your scheduled ceremony.

 
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Step 9. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.

What to do: Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to Form N-445. Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen. Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, review it, and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site.

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Step 10. Understanding U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. Check out this list of some of the most important rights and responsibilities that all citizens—both Americans by birth and by choice—should exercise, honor, and respect.

For more detailed information on the naturalization process, please visit the Citizenship Through Naturalization page on our website. For information on naturalization for members of the U.S. armed forces, please visit the citizenship for military personnel and family members page on our website.

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