Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. In order to apply for naturalization, you must meet several naturalization requirements described in more detail here. You may be wondering what are the next steps once you complete the N-400 naturalization petition and it’s received by USCIS. How long will it take to get an interview? When will you get a U.S. Passport? This blog post will discuss what happens once your petition is received by USCIS.
I. USCIS will review your petition and send you an interview notice
Currently, it’s taking several months for USCIS field offices to schedule an interview (this depends on where you live, but it can take around 12-18 months (or even longer) to get an interview). Once your local USCIS field office has reviewed your application and all the supporting documentation, they will send you an interview appointment notice.
II. Review Interview Notice and make sure you can attend the interview
The USCIS interview notice will have the date and time of your interview and will also have instructions what documents you need to bring. If you need to re-schedule the interview, please do so as soon as possible after receiving the interview notice. The interview notice should contain instructions how to re-schedule the interview. You need to re-schedule the interview if you cannot attend, otherwise your petition will be automatically denied.
III. Attend your naturalization interview
Prior to the naturalization interview, you should gather all the necessary documents such as your green card, foreign passport, previous immigration documents, or 5 most recent US tax returns. Please see the full list of documents you should bring to the naturalization interview here.
On the day and time of your interview, attend your naturalization interview. As part of the interview, you will need to complete the English and Civics test part. The immigration officer will test your English reading and writing skills and will also administer a short test on U.S. civics. You should study for the Civics test prior to the interview and you can find several free resources on USCIS website.
IV. Attend your oath ceremony
If your naturalization petition is approved, USCIS will schedule you to take the Oath of Allegiance. Some USCIS field offices are able to schedule the oath ceremony on the same day as your naturalization interview. Other offices will approve you naturalization petition, and will then schedule your Oath Ceremony. If you cannot attend the scheduled oath ceremony, you will need to return the N-445 Notice you received to the local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why you cannot attend the scheduled ceremony.
The oath can either be taken either in front of a judge or in front of a USCIS officer.
Before your Oath Ceremony, you will need to return your green card (or any similar documents you have, such as a re-entry permit) to USCIS, as the Certificate of Naturalization you will receive that day will be new evidence of you US citizen status in the U.S.
V. Apply for a U.S. passport
Once you receive your Naturalization Certificate, you will be able to apply for a U.S. passport. After you become a US citizen, you can also register to vote in local, state, or federal elections. You should also update your Social Security Record by submitting Form SS-5.
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