Are you thinking about applying for naturalization but aren’t sure when or if you should? The following information may help you decide if the timing is right for you to apply to become a U.S. citizen.

Requirements for Naturalization

You may apply for naturalization if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces)
  • If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, you registered for the U.S. Selective Service
  • You are a permanent resident of the United States for either 3 or 5 years, depending on how you became a resident
  • You have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing
  • You have demonstrated physical presence within the United States for a required period of time
  • You have demonstrated continuous residence for a required period of time
  • You demonstrate good moral character
  • You demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution;
  • You demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as “civics”) as well as an ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English (this requirement may be waived if you qualify for certain exemptions)
  • You are willing to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Some applicants may be eligible for a modified oath

Understanding what exactly each of these requirements means when applied to your situation can be confusing and sometimes difficult to understand. An immigration attorney can review your personal information to make sure that you qualify to submit your application for naturalization.

How Much Would It Cost to Apply for US Citizenship?

The filing fee charged by USCIS is currently $640 plus a biometrics fee of $85 for a total of $725. Fee waivers are available in certain situations, so you may want to review the Form I-912 to see if you qualify to request a waiver of the filing fees.  An immigration lawyer can also review this with you to see if you qualify.

The Interview and Exam Process

Applicants are expected to study 100 questions on history and civics of the United States.  An applicant must also demonstrate that they are capable of communicating in the English language, and will be asked to read a question out loud and then write the response.  Proficiency in the English language is also assessed through the interview conducted by the USCIS officer, which consists primarily of the officer and applicant reviewing the details of their application.

Why Should You Contact an Immigration Lawyer?

If you are a legal permanent resident and you think you meet all of the requirements to apply for naturalization, then you may be ready to speak with an immigration attorney about your case.

Immigration attorneys keep up the ever-changing laws and procedures for legalization and citizenship to make sure that your case has the best chance of approval. The attorney will review your immigration documents, civil documents, and ask you questions about your personal history. You should be prepared to give as much detailed information as you can whenever you meet with the immigration attorney. The more information you give about yourself, your goals, and your concerns, the better your attorney can serve you to the best of their ability.