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naturalization processWhen you look back into U.S. history, you will see that the nation is one founded on immigrants. The first Americans were immigrants from England, France, Germany, and other northern European countries. Running from political and religious intolerance, these immigrants searched for a new home that promised relief. In recent times, the government has been perfecting the naturalization process, making very specific guidelines one must follow in order to be considered for U.S. citizenship.

There are a few naturalization process steps one must take in order to to make you adjustment of status to that of a legal citizen. Before you start the process, it’s important to make sure you are qualified. In order to apply for U.S. citizenship, United States immigration laws state that you must have owned a green card for 5 years. If you obtained your green card through a U.S.-citizen spouse, or through the Violence Against Women Act, this time can be shortened to three years. You must also be at least 18 years of age, be able to read and write in English, and be physically located in the United States.

To start the naturalization process, one must submit an application known as known as the Form N-400. This application is free to download, and can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. With the application, you must also send a copy of your green card, two color photos with your A number on the back, and any other documents that may be particular to your situation. Keep in mind that the USCIS receives around 6 million applications per year, so it may take some time for your application to process.

Once your application has been accepted, you will be scheduled for a naturalization interview. In this interview you will need to prove you can speak and read in English, and will be asked to answer 10 questions about U.S. history in government. You must correctly answer six of the 10 questions to pass. The interviewer will also review your application, and ask you various confirmation questions. If you are approved, you will automatically be scheduled for a swearing-in ceremony. If denied due to improper knowledge of English or U.S. history, you will automatically be rescheduled to take the tests again after 90 days.