Cities and Towns in the United States > citizenship > How to Become A US Citizen through Naturalization


Among the many methods of becoming a US citizen, naturalization is among the available channels you can utilize to become one. This method requires an individual to undergo particular processes before attaining a citizen’s status.

If you’re considering settling in the US permanently and becoming a citizen, here is a solid alternative that will allow you to enjoy the benefits that other American citizens enjoy.

What Is Naturalization?

Naturalization is the act of awarding a foreigner a citizenship status using a particular legal process. The applicant must fulfill all recommended requirements and send their application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for evaluation.

You have to check the eligibility before applying for this status. Otherwise, you risk having your application rejected if you miss one requirement.

Becoming an American Citizen by Naturalization

Benefits and Obligations of Becoming A US Citizen

Becoming a citizen of the United States gives you access to multiple privileges. Unlike permanent residents or immigrants, you get to enjoy the full spectrum of benefits of being a citizen. You will have access to all job opportunities within your education level (including federal jobs) and to easy unmonitored movement in and out of the country. You will no longer have to report to the immigration office when you want to travel outside the US. Besides that, you’ll get US aid if you are in trouble outside the country’s borders as well as access to all government-funded services.

Other benefits are:

  • • Acquisition of the US passport

  • • Automatic citizenship for your children

  • Eligibility to vote

  • • Elimination of immigration and green card renewals

  • • Running for office

  • • Sponsorship rights

  • • The right to live in the US permanently, without being deported

Aside from enjoying the benefits, you have obligations to fulfill when you become a US citizen through naturalization. You must:

  • • Obey the law

  • • Pay taxes when they are due

  • • Attending jury services when you’re requested

  • • Sign up for selective service (if you’re a man)

  • • Swear allegiance to the USA

  • • Give up allegiance to other nations

Who Can Apply?

Application for citizenship through naturalization is only available to selected individuals. The bureau looks for particular specifications when sifting through the application letters. You must:

  • • Be a lawful US permanent resident for 3-5 years

  • • Be proficient in English

  • • Be willing to take the allegiance oath

  • • Demonstrate loyalty to the US constitution

  • • Have a commendable moral character

  • • Have attained at least 18 years

  • • Have lived in the US continuously during your residency period and not moved out of the US in the last three months before your application

  • • Understand the US history and government

Requirements And Documentation Needed

Once you pass the eligibility test, you must fill out the application form (N-400) to get you on the road to US citizenship. You have to create a USCIS account to allow you to begin the application process. You must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Birth certificate

  • • Children’s birth certificates

  • • Contact information

  • • Family ties and history

  • • Go for an interview

  • Marriage certificate

  • Name change documents

  • • Other necessary supporting documents

  • • Pay the application fee

  • • Plan a biometrics meeting

  • • Take an oath of allegiance

  • • Your identification details

  • • Your residence history

In the evidence section, you should note that every person submits particular documents depending on their answers. Consequently, you may have to offer additional documents to support your application.

Where and How To Apply

The application process avails two options to utilize when applying for US citizenship. You can do this online on the USCIS website and follow the instructions on the virtual N-400 form. The system automatically saves your answers as you complete the form.

If you aren’t conversant with online applications, you can download the application form, print it, and fill in the blanks. Once done, you will attach the necessary document and mail your application to the USCIS department for evaluation.

Once you send your application, you should set up a meeting to give out your biometrics and prepare for the necessary qualification tests.


During the application process, particular groups of people get exempted from taking specific tests. The USCIS exempts you from the following:

  • • English test if you are 50 or 55 and have lived in the US for 20 or 15 years, respectively.

  • • English and Civics test if you have a physical or developmental disability or are mentally impaired.

  • • Continuous residence requirement if you work abroad, but you have to check specific reasons that warrant this exemption.

  • • Disability accommodations, thanks to the rehabilitation act of 1973.

Why Might Your Application Be Rejected?

The application process for US citizenship by naturalization is a strenuous activity that takes days to complete. Unfortunately, some individuals have had their applications rejected. The most common reasons for this decision include:

  • • Failing the English and Civics tests

  • • Failure to meet physical presence requirements

  • • Failure to pay taxes

  • • Failure to register for selective services

  • • Using illegal means to apply for the application, such as canvassing

  • • You do not provide financial support to your children

  • • You have a criminal record

What Happens After You Apply

After sending in your application, you are expected to prepare for subsequent tests required to complete the application process. You also have to submit your biometrics. You can track your application’s progress on the USCIC website once you log into your account. The USCIS department will also schedule you to take an oath of allegiance to affirm your citizenship.

Cost, Validity, And Processing Time

You must pay $725 to finalize your request to nationalize as a US citizen. $640 is for processing the application, while $85 is for biometrics. A US citizenship is valid for a lifetime. It does not expire but can be revoked if your application was fraudulent or if you willingly misinterpreted information on the application form.

From the application date, it will take up to 13 months before the completion of your request. You will receive updates and further follow-ups regarding your application during this period.