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Citizenship Attorney - Naturalization

Become A US Citizen: Our Attorneys Can Help!

The United States has been often referred to as a 'nation of immigrants'. The process of naturalization, overseen by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), allows individuals from all over the world to become part of the fabric of American society. While this journey is meticulous, it is also enriching - a testament to the enduring values of perseverance and hope. This essay, tinged with optimism, underscores the fees, processing times, and potential pitfalls to navigate during the process.


To initiate the naturalization journey with USCIS, applicants should first ensure that they satisfy the necessary preconditions. For instance, they must have been a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) for at least five years (or three if married to a U.S. citizen), be proficient in English, have basic knowledge of U.S. history and government, and maintain good moral character.


The first step in the naturalization process is to complete Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. The current fee for this application is $725, including a $640 base fee and an $85 biometric services fee. This fee supports the processing cost within USCIS for the extensive review required for naturalization applications. USCIS provides a fee calculator to help applicants avoid common filing errors. Fee waivers or reductions may be available based on specific national income poverty threshold criteria. 


After the application and fee submission, USCIS issues a biometrics appointment notice. This is a pivotal process, collecting applicants’ fingerprints, photographs, and signatures to confirm their identity and run necessary background checks. This procedure usually takes place at a local USCIS field office, and the wait time can range from 3-5 weeks after submitting the N-400 application.

A few weeks post the biometrics appointment, applicants are invited to an interview where an official tests their understanding of English and knowledge of U.S. civics. Barring unforeseen circumstances or backlogs, the interval between the biometrics appointment and the interview is generally 14-16 months. This part of the process effectively underscores the applicants' readiness to become active, informed U.S. citizens.


Upon successful completion of the interview, applicants receive an appointment for the Oath of Allegiance. The typical timeframe between the interview and the oath ceremony is 1-2 months. The ceremony marks the end of the naturalization process; applicants’ green cards are relinquished, and in return, they receive their Certificate of Naturalization, an emblem of their new American citizenship.


It’s essential to note that there can be possible hurdles along the path to naturalization. Noncompliance with the biometrics process, nonpayment of the required fees, insufficient English proficiency or civic knowledge, and specific criminal records may result in a denial of the application. Discrepancies or incomplete information on the application form might delay the process. Therefore, being forthright, compliant, and proactive in handling these aspects considerably enhances the chances of application approval.


In summary, while the naturalization process is by design rigorous - extending from 12 to 18 months, involving various steps, each with its own fee and each echoing the gravity of this life-long commitment - the path to achieving U.S. citizenship is indeed achievable. It embodies the quintessential American Dream - that of freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of a better life. The USCIS, as an enduring pillar of American values, continues to guide aspiring citizens along this transformative journey, making America a vast tapestry of global confidents.

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