After a successful I-751 Petition to Remove Condition on Residence (ROC), here we are a few months later, preparing for the final leg of our immigration journey – the N-400, Application for Naturalization or otherwise known as Application for U.S. Citizenship. If you have been following My Timeline, you would know that I became eligible for early filing of Naturalization / U.S. Citizenship only 4 months after my I-751 / ROC got approved. Again, like all the other sections/processes on this blog, we will be discussing this topic of applying for Naturalization / U.S. Citizenship based on Marriage to a U.S. Citizen. For other immigrants who wish to become a U.S. Citizen, please refer to the following resources:
I will not be discussing each and every requirement. This is your responsibility to read through the USCIS Website Resources that is readily available to you. There are a few things that I want to highlight when it comes to eligibility for U.S. Citizenship though:
***All of these and more specific requirements can be found on the USCIS Resources Pages mentioned above.***
Basically, you have established residence in the U.S. for 3 years before you file for Naturalization. You need to be a Permanent Resident that didn’t establish residence elsewhere outside the U.S., or took an extremely long vacation that may be seen as abandonment of your Permanent Resident status. This is also why people who are planning to apply for Naturalization/U.S. Citizenship in the future are discouraged to travel outside the U.S for extended periods. To quote the “USCIS M-476 A Guide to Naturalization” directly:
Continuous Residence = 3 years as a Permanent Resident without leaving the United States for trips of 6 months or longer.
More explanation and scenarios about “Continuous Residence” on the PDF: USCIS M-476, A Guide to Naturalization.
No one is forcing you to become a U.S. Citizen. I will not be telling you about the PROs and CONs of becoming a U.S. Citizen. My reasons for choosing this path is different from yours or anybody else’s. This is a decision only you can make. If you choose to stay as a Permanent Resident, you will have to renew your Permanent Residence before your 10-year Green Card is up – that means filing an application, paying fees, and repeating this process for as long as you want to stay as a Permanent Resident.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. If you are making this decision of applying for U.S. based entirely on convenience then you might want to REASSESS this decision, your reasons, and REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS. Giving up your citizenship from your home country is NEVER and SHOULD NEVER BE an easy matter. Most people forget but by becoming a U.S. Citizen, you abjure, you renounce, you relinquish ties, you cut allegiances to all other countries you are a citizen of and PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE UNITED STATES. I would suggest to read the Oath of Allegiance over and over again until you understand what you really are giving up, and what you are trying to attain. Like I’ve always reiterated before: UNDERSTAND THE PROCESSES YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. I cannot stress this enough.
I hereby declare, on oath,
that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
***Read the Oath of Allegiance, REPEATEDLY until you understand the full meaning of wanting to and becoming a U.S. Citizen.***
(And just in case you have any hereditary titles, or positions of nobility, you would have to renounce this too. :P)
Your “Early Filing Date” is within 90 days before your 3rd year anniversary as a Permanent Resident provided that you’re already married for 3 years by then. You can use the Early Filing Calculator found on the USCIS Website.
Just to note: The anniversary date you’re going to input in the calculator is 3 years AFTER the “Resident Since” Date on your I-551 Permanent Resident Card / Green Card. For example, your “Resident Since” Date on your Card is “January 1, 2014” you will enter “January 1, 2017” on the calculator, which is effectively your 3rd year anniversary as a Permanent Resident. It will then give you the exact date of your “Early Filing Date”.
NO. This is not like I-751 Application to Remove Conditions on Residence. You can file an application for Naturalization / U.S. Citizenship ANYTIME AFTER your early filing date. It’s ok if you want to delay it for a few months, or years before your 10-year Permanent Resident Card / Green Card expires. Just remember that when your 10-year Green Card is 90 days close to expiring, you MIGHT have to renew your Permanent Residence before you can apply for Naturalization. ALWAYS CHECK WITH USCIS DIRECTLY.
The interview is required and CANNOT be waived. You will have to show up at your interview date, be interviewed, and right there you will be given the English and Civics Exam. (Unless of course your reason is one of USCIS’s exceptions.) If you have to reschedule your interview date, you will need to contact USCIS directly.
Like every USCIS process, typical processing times would be 6 months from the time of filing, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BACKLOGS, of course. Always check the USCIS Website for Processing times.
***THESE ARTICLES ARE STILL BEING WRITTEN. PLEASE CHECK BACK AGAIN IN A WEEK OR SO.***
The Application for Naturalization / U.S. Citizenship Process typically lasts for 6 months from NOA1. Some are VERY lucky to have completed the process less than the normal case processing times. Some, due to backlog, will have to endure the process for more than 6 months.
Read on so you have an idea on what to expect from your Naturalization Process. »
Based on my experience, these are the forms and documents needed for the N-400 Application for Naturalization / U.S Citizenship. Make sure you label the documents inside your packet for easy handling!
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Below are links to the Official USCIS Pages discussing FormN-400, Application for Naturalization / U.S. Citizenship: