Becoming a citizen through naturalization
The staff at Refugee Federation Service Center will help you through the naturalization process of voluntarily becoming a citizen of the United States.
To be eligible for citizenship, you must meet the following requirements: (1) be at least 18 years old when you apply, (2) be able to read, write, and speak basic English, and be of good moral character. You must also be in one of these categories:
- Lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) of five years
- Married to a U.S. Citizen
- U.S. military service member (active duty or veteran)
- Child of a U.S. citizen
Applying for Citizenship
The staff at Refugee Federation will assist you with the ten-step naturalization process from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in determining if you are eligible for naturalization, how to fill out the Form N-400 application, and what to do before taking the oath of citizenship.
What to do: If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, or you did not acquire or derive U.S. citizenship from your parent(s) automatically after birth, go to the next step.
What to do: Read the instructions to complete Form N-400. Collect the necessary documents to demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization. If you reside outside the United States, get 2 passport-style photos taken. Use the document checklist (PDF, 178.19 KB) to make sure you collect all the required documents. RFSC staff will assist you in the preparation of Form N-400.
What to do: If you need to take biometrics, USCIS will send you an appointment notice that includes your biometrics appointment date, time, and location. Arrive at the designated location at the scheduled time. Have your biometrics taken.
What to do:Once all the preliminary processes on your case are complete, USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process. You must report to the USCIS office at the date and time on your appointment notice. Please bring the appointment notice with you.
USCIS will mail a notice of decision to you. If you filed your N-400 online, you can also access the electronic notice in your account.
- Granted – USCIS may approve your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes that you are eligible for naturalization.
- Continued – USCIS may continue your application if you need to provide additional evidence/documentation, fail to provide USCIS the correct documents, or fail the English and/or civics test the first time.
- Denied – USCIS will deny your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes you are not eligible for naturalization.
What to expect: If USCIS approved your Form N-400 in step 7, you may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a same day naturalization ceremony is unavailable, USCIS will mail you a notification with the date, time, and location of your scheduled ceremony. If you filed your N-400 online, you can also access the electronic notice in your application.
You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.
What to do:
- Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.
- Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to Form N-445.
- Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
- Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen.
- Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, review it, and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site.
Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. Check out this list of some of the most important rights and responsibilities that all citizens—both Americans by birth and by choice—should exercise, honor, and respect.
Below you will find several rights and responsibilities that all citizens should exercise and respect. Some of these responsibilities are legally required of every citizen, but all are important to ensuring that America remains a free and prosperous nation.
- Freedom to express yourself.
- Freedom to worship as you wish.
- Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
- Right to vote in elections for public officials.
- Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
- Right to run for elected office.
- Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
- Support and defend the Constitution.
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
- Participate in the democratic process.
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
- Participate in your local community.
- Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
- Serve on a jury when called upon.
- Defend the country if the need should arise.