Updated: May 3, 2021
U.S Citizenship Application – First, find out if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen.
Before you start a U.S. citizenship application, make sure you meet the following criteria:
● you must be at least 18 years old
● you must have been a Permanent Resident of the U.S. for at least five years (with some exceptions, see USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Attachment A on page 3 for details – download this worksheet here).
● in the last 5 years, you must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half the time, which is 30 months or more (with some exceptions, see USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Attachment B on page 3 for details).
● for the last 5 years, you must have not taken a trip outside the U.S. that lasted one year or more (with some exceptions, see USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Attachment C on page 3 for details).
● you must have lived in the state or district, from which you are applying for citizenship, for the last 3 months.
● you must be able to speak, write and read basic English (with some exceptions, see USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Attachment D on page 4 for details).
● you must have sufficient knowledge of U.S. history and government (with some exceptions, see USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Attachment E on page 4 for details).
● you must have good moral character.
● you must support the U.S. constitution and be willing to swear an Oath of Allegiance.
● if you are a male, you must be registered for selective service (with some exceptions, see USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet criteria 10 on page 3 for details).
● you must have never deserted the U.S. Army.
● you must not have been exempted or discharged from the U.S. Army because you are a foreigner.
● you must be willing to perform military or non-military services for the U.S. if required by law.
Fill out and send your U.S. citizenship application form (N-400 form)
You will need to complete the U.S. citizenship application N-400 form in order to apply for U.S. citizenship. You can download the form here.
Carefully follow the instructions and answer all questions truthfully (do not lie). Make sure you collect all the documents required to demonstrate your eligibility for citizenship (naturalization). Use the USCIS document checklist to make sure you don’t forget any document.
Send the completed N-400 form and all applicable documents from the “document checklist” to USCIS.
Once you submit Form N-400, the USCIS will send you a receipt notice. You will be able to check processing times here and the status of your application here, or by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (hearing impaired).
U.S Citizenship Application – If applicable, go to the biometrics appointment
If USCIS needs your biometrics, you will be notified with an appointment time, date and location. This is not optional. If notified, you have to go to that appointment.
U.S Citizenship Application – Prepare for the citizenship test
Sometime after submitting your U.S. citizenship application (usually several months), you will receive a notification by mail from USCIS to appear for a citizenship test (interview) at your local USCIS office.
You must pass the U.S. Citizenship test in order to become a U.S. citizen. There is no way around it.
During your interview, the USCIS officer will ask you questions about your N-400 application. This is to determine your eligibility for citizenship and also to assess your English speaking and comprehension skills. Then, you will be asked to write a sentence in English; and to read a sentence in English. You will also be asked up to 10 civics questions, based on a list of civics questions and answers.
Important Updates to the Civics Test
USCIS is reverting back to the 2008 version of the civics test.
All applicants are required to take the 2008 civics test, except:
Applicants who filed their Form N-400 on or after Dec. 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, with an initial examination (interview) before April 19, 2021, will have the option to take either the 2020 civics test, or the 2008 civics test at initial exam, re-exam, or N-336 hearing.
The English Test portion of the Naturalization Test which includes a speaking, reading and writing test has not changed.
2008 Civics Test
You will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 Questions and Answers prepared by the USCIS, based on the 2008 version of the Civics Test. You will have to answer correctly 6 out of the 10 questions in order to pass the 2008 version of the civics test. As soon as you answer correctly 6 questions out of the 10, you pass this portion of the citizenship test.
2020 Civics Test
You will be asked to answer 20 out of the 128 civics test questions of the 2020 version of the civics test. You must answer 12 questions correctly in order to pass the 2020 version of the civics test.
👉 To learn more about this interview, read this article: U.S. Citizenship Test – What is it all about
This citizenship test has four components and you are allowed only two chances to pass it. It is absolutely essential that you are well prepared for it.
👉 To know how to prepare for this interview, read this article: U.S. Citizenship Test – How to prepare for it
👉 To know which people are allowed to attend the interview with you, read this article: U.S. Citizenship Test – people you can bring with you
U.S Citizenship Application – At the end of the interview, receive a decision from USCIS
The USCIS officer must give you a notice of results (form N-652) at the end of the interview that will tell you if you passed or failed, or if for some reason your case is continued.
If you fail your test the first time, you will be given only one more chance.
There are a number of reasons that the USCIS might not approve your U.S. citizenship application the first time.
👉 To learn more about the reasons you could fail your test, read this article: U.S. Citizenship test – what happens if you fail it?
If you pass your test, USCIS will schedule a time for you to take the Oath of Allegiance at a citizenship ceremony (also called naturalization ceremony). This is the last step before becoming a U.S. citizen.
U.S Citizenship Application – Attend your citizenship ceremony
If a citizenship ceremony is available, you might be able to attend it on the same day as your citizenship interview.
If not, USCIS will mail you a notice telling you the location and the time of your ceremony.
👉 To learn more about this citizenship ceremony, read this article: U.S. Citizenship test – what happens after you pass it?
U.S Citizenship Application – Enjoy the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship
👉 To learn more about the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, read this article: U.S. Citizenship – rights and benefits
U.S. citizenship test – Very Important
You are allowed only two chances to pass your U.S. citizenship test. If you fail any portion of the test in your second attempt your citizenship application will be denied.
As a result, you must be well prepared for this test.
We offer a FREE U.S. Citizenship Test complete online training program to help you pass your test. Good luck on your test!
Disclaimer: this article only presents a general overview of the U.S. citizenship application process. Always consult the USCIS website before applying for citizenship.