The Path to Citizenship: Becoming a Citizen of the United States

Many people seek to become citizens of the United States. If you are eligible, there is a legal path to citizenship. If you meet the criteria, you can become a naturalized citizen, someone who enjoys the same benefits as those who were born in the U.S. The naturalization process can take some time, so it is best to start as soon as possible.

Obtain a Green Card and Maintain Residency

The first step towards U.S. citizenship is to obtain a green card. A green card is also known as permanent residency. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) require you to reside in the country for a period of five years. You must be present in the United States for at least 30 months to qualify for citizenship. The applicant must file the application in the jurisdiction where he or she resides.

Complete and Submit Form N-400

If you meet the requirements to become a naturalized citizen Form N-400 must be completed and submitted. Along with the completed form, the applicant must include the application fee. Additionally, there is a separate biometrics fee. This fee allows the USCIS to complete a background check and criminal review. You will also submit fingerprints for a security check to be completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Attend Interview and Naturalization Test

Once your application is accepted, the USCIS will provide a date, time, and location of your interview. The interview is a critical part of the citizenship process. The interviewer will review the applicant’s form and answer questions. The applicant will be tested on their basic understanding of the English language, civics, and U.S. history.

Attend the Naturalization Ceremony and Take Oath

Once you pass the citizenship interview, and test your application will be approved. This may occur at the time of your interview, but may occur later. You will be invited to attend a ceremony where you and others take the oath of U.S. loyalty. Your family may attend the naturalization ceremony. Upon approval, you will be provided a certificate of naturalization. This can be used to provide proof of citizenship when needed.

The path to citizenship can be complicated and difficult for some people, and it’s advisable to speak with a qualified immigration attorney before you begin the process. This will help to ensure that you follow the guidelines and meet the requirements. Contact the experienced lawyers at Udall Shumway PLC to discuss your case.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Path to Citizenship, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.