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What do I have to do to become a citizen of the United States?

If you did not become a citizen of the United States by birth or through your parents' status as U.S. citizens, the only way to become a citizen of this country is through the naturalization process. After spending time in the United States as a permanent resident, you might decide to take the next step and apply for citizenship. You will probably need to ask many questions on this journey, and the first might entail what you need to do to become a citizen.

The process involves many steps, but if you become a citizen at the end of it, you will obtain many of the rights and freedoms that other citizens enjoy. This article touches on the general steps you must go through on your path to naturalization.

The steps to becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States

The process of becoming a naturalized citizen involves a substantial amount of paperwork and time. Your particular circumstances dictate how long it takes and how much paperwork you need. You will take the following steps during the naturalization process:

1. First, you must determine whether you qualify for naturalization.


2. If you qualify, you need to fill out and file the Application for Naturalization. You need to provide certain documentation with the application to consider it complete.


3. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will notify you when it receives your application.


4. USCIS might schedule you for a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting and other necessary information needed to move the application process forward.


5. After the completion of the above steps, USCIS might schedule an interview for you.


6. You will receive a written notice regarding the decision made by USCIS. The decision types include the following:


a. USCIS could grant your application, which means that you met all eligibility requirements for naturalization.


b. USCIS could continue your application. You might need to provide more evidence or documentation to accompany your application, or you failed to provide the correct documentation or evidence. Your application can also be continued if you failed the civics or English test.


c. USCIS could deny your application, which means the agency does not believe you qualify for naturalization at this time.


7. If USCIS granted your application, you will then take the Oath of Allegiance. You might take this oath at your interview or at another date and time provided to you by the agency.


8. Before you take the Oath of Allegiance, you will fill out a questionnaire that is reviewed by a USCIS agent and turn in your green card. After you take the oath, review your Certificate of Naturalization to be sure it does not contain any errors.


The simplicity of these steps fails to demonstrate the complexities involved in obtaining U.S. citizenship. You could run into a myriad of problems at any point during this process. The failure to include even one document could cause a delay in the processing of your application or an outright denial of it. Even determining whether you qualify to apply for naturalization could cause you frustration.

You would more than likely benefit from enlisting the help of an immigration attorney here in Austin. He or she would guide you through each step of the process and help you gather the best evidence to ensure your application is complete and to increase your chances of obtaining an approval.

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