A Brief Introduction to the US Naturalization Process

Photograph of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo.

Photograph of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo.

Becoming a US citizen is an exciting prospect for many people across the world, but it can sometimes be more difficult than one might think. There are specific steps and requirements to fulfill during the naturalization process, but once it’s completed, you will enjoy the freedoms and responsibilities that come with being a citizen of the United States. Let’s examine what the naturalization process looks like and what you can expect.

Initial Steps

If both you and your parents were born outside of the United States, you have the ability to apply for citizenship. Once you are over 18 and have lived in the country for 5 years, you are eligible for naturalization. The only exception to this is if you are married to a citizen, in which case you are only required to live in the country for 3 years.

The application used to begin the process is the N-400 form and you will need to submit this form, along copies of your permanent resident card and two passport style photographs, are required to accompany the N-400 in order to apply for US citizenship. There is also a fee to apply, which can change from year to year, but is typically around $600.

After the Application

Once your application and documentation have been processed, you will be contacted to set up an appointment to be fingerprinted. After your prints have been submitted, it can take some time for the government to review your information. You will receive notification once you are ready to move on to the next step, which is an in-person interview with a United States Citizenship and Immigration officer.

When your interview is complete, you will then be required to take a civics test which assesses your knowledge of US history and government, as well as evaluates your fluency in the English language. Successfully passing this test means that you will be approved for naturalization, and the next step will require your attendance at an oath ceremony. During this event, you will take a verbal oath of allegiance to the United States.


After taking your oath, you are considered a permanent US citizen and will be awarded a certificate of naturalization. It is strongly recommended that you apply for a US passport and update the Social Security Administration with your new resident status.

If you are looking to begin the naturalization process but need some help navigating through each step, please contact Ahluwalia Law P.C. today. We are here to answer all of your questions and guide you from start to finish.