Understanding the citizenship process

Are you eligible for citizenship? What will you need to do, and how does the process work?

Lea en español   •   informação em português   •   pou Ayisien


For detailed information about the citizenship process, including requirements, forms and instructions, see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

What are the steps to becoming a citizen?

1. Send an Application for Naturalization (N-400) to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).

2. Fingerprints (Appointment will be scheduled 1-2 months after application is filed)

3. Interview & Citizenship Test (will be scheduled 2-4 months after application is filed)

4. Approval of Application (will receive notification 2-4 months after application is filed)

5. Oath Ceremony (1-2 months after the date you passed interview & citizenship test)

6. Register to Vote! (you can now apply for a U.S. passport and register to vote)

Details of the citizenship process

1. Send an Application for Naturalization (N-400) to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Come to one of our clinics for assistance with this step!


USCIS will send you an appointment stating the time, date and location where you will take your fingerprints.

3. INTERVIEW & CITIZENSHIP TEST (see also below)

The examiner will ask you questions about your N-400 application and test your English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history and government. We recommend that you take a Citizenship class and/or English class throughout your citizenship application process!

If you qualify for a language waiver, you must bring your own translator.

You may bring an attorney to your interview

You can ask the examiner to:

  • Repeat any question you did not understand
  • Speak with a supervisor if you think an examiner has been unfair
  • State his/her name and title

If you did not pass the English or U.S. history and government section, you will be given a second exam in 90 days.


In this ceremony you will:

  • Promise to be loyal to the United States
  • Receive your naturalization certificate
  • Make sure your naturalization certificate does not have any mistakes

If you are sick or disabled, you may be able to take the oath in your house or hospital.

*This material was adapted from the National Partnership for New Americans "Creating New Americans: Citizenship Toolkit"