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How to Become a U.S. Citizen

The process of naturalization or becoming a United States citizen is one that can take up to 18 months. This time frame varies based on the number of people applying for citizenship. Below are the basic steps to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Step 1: Find out if you are eligible to become a United States citizen- For the full list of eligibility requirements, view the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Guide to Naturalization (USCIS).

Step 2: Complete the N-400 Form (the Application for Naturalization). Along with the application you will need copies of several documents such as proof of your legal name, proof of residence, proof of your Green card, etc… The documents you need may vary. For a full list of documents you may need, view the USCIS Document Checklist.

Step 3: Have your picture taken. You will need two identical color photographs, with your name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) written lightly in pencil on the back of each photo. See your N-400 Form for further details on your photograph requirements.

Step 4: Step 4: Send your application, documents, and fee to your USCIS office. The application fee is $595 and the fee for fingerprinting is $80. You will need a check or money order from a U.S. bank payable to the Department of Homeland Security for the total amount of $675. Do not send cash and do not abbreviate. You must spell out the words Department of Homeland Security. To find the local USCIS office that serves your area, please use the field office locator.

Step 5: Get Fingerprinted- After you have filed your application you will be notified by USCIS as to where you will need to go to be fingerprinted.

Step 6: Appear for an interview- You will receive a notice to appear for an interview. Bring identification. At your interview you will be asked about your background and will be given an English test and a civics test.

Step 7: Get your results- After your interview you will learn whether you are granted naturalization/citizenship.

Step 8: Oath of Allegiance to the United States- In the event you are granted naturalization, you must attend a ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/56/Flag-of-USA.jpg/624px-Flag-of-USA.jpg

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