What Are the Steps in the Naturalization Process

Becoming a citizen is the dream of many immigrants in the United States. However, the path to citizenship is not always simple. The steps in the naturalization process are discussed below.

Permanent Resident Status

Before an immigrant can become a citizen, they must first become a permanent resident. If you are an immigrant married to a United States citizen, you must be a permanent resident for a minimum of three years before you can file your application for naturalization. If you are a permanent resident for other reasons, you must have been a permanent resident for a minimum of five years and be at least 18 years of age.

Application for Naturalization

After the preliminary residency status has been established, you may decide to apply to become a United States citizen. In addition to meeting the residency and age requirements, you must also be of good moral character. If you have been convicted of a crime, you might want to discuss this information with an experienced immigration attorney to learn about how this might impact your ability to become naturalized. The naturalization application is N-400 and must be submitted to USCIS.


As part of your naturalization process, you must attend a biometrics appointment. Your fingerprints and picture are taken. A federal background check is conducted on you to determine if you have any criminal history.

Attend the Interview

An interview time will be scheduled with a USCIS officer. At this meeting, you may be asked questions about yourself, your family, your application and your background. In many situations, you will learn whether your application is accepted. In other cases, your application may be placed in pending status so that a further investigation can be conducted.

Civics and English Test

Before becoming a naturalized citizen, you will have to take and pass a civics test and an English test. Many cities offer classes specifically designed for this test. If you do not pass this test, your application for naturalization is rejected. However, you may be given another interview appointment day for 60 to 90 days later.

Contact a Skilled Immigration Attorney

Udall Shumway’s immigration attorneys are committed to helping immigrants achieve their lifelong dreams. We can discuss your personal circumstances to determine if you may be eligible to pursue citizenship or other legal immigration status. Contact us to find out more about your legal options.


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 Naturalization Process, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  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.