United States Citizenship Process for Permanent Residents

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As the President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination got official and his election campaign against immigrants grew stronger, so did my mother’s (and her friends, her co-workers, neighbors, family in India) paranoia about getting her citizenship done, before he decides to evict immigrants. So I began looking into the documents for her. I’ve put down the process for those who make look at getting their citizenship but hate the paperwork.

USCIS has made it really easy to speed up the process. The site is up to date with forms and instructions. You don’t need a immigration layer until and unless you have a rare special case.

  1. Determine your eligibility:
    You must…
    – Be 18 years or older to apply
    – Have a valid Green card for at least 5 years
    – Have a stayed for a minimum of 30 months in those 5 years.
    – Have lived on the address mentioned in the application for a minimum of 3 months.
  2. Collect The Documents:
    – Fill out the N-400 (click here to download the form and instructions. You will be redirected to the USCIS website.)
    – You’ll need a Valid Photo ID like a driver’s license or state ID.
    – Photographs: 2 identical color photographs, with your name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) written lightly in pencil on the back of each photo.
    – Copy of you Passport
    – Copy of your Greencard (front and back)
    – Copy of your birth certificate or related documents
    – The list of ALL required documents including for those married to US citizens, IRS penalties, convicted or have lived or worked outside the US, is available on the USCIS website.
  3. Fees:
    – Payments are excepted in the form of Credit/Debit Cards, Cashier’s check, money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
    – $640, effective 12 a.m. Eastern U.S. time, December 23, 2016. (Add the $85 biometric fee for a total of $725, where applicable.
    – Applicants over 75 are exempted from the biometric fee.
    – Use the Form G-1450 to authorize Credit Card transactions.
  4. Send the documents to the appropriate office based on your region and wait patiently.
  5. You should get a letter in about 3-6 weeks mentioning that your application is accepted or if they need additional paper work. (My mom’s documents came back because we forgot to add her sign to one of the pages. So we resent the documents and got the acceptance letter a few weeks later.)
  6.  You’ll then get a biometric appointment. It’s a 5 min process where they’ll take your finger prints and photographs. Make sure to carry all your documents, including passport, license and Green card to the appointment, along with the USCIS acceptance letter and biometric appointment letter. (Pro Tip: Make one folder for your process and all the incoming letters in there)
  7. After your biometrics are taken, in a month or two you should get the date and time of your interview. The interview is a really easy 20 minute process. If you are aware of current news affairs and basic American history and some Capitol Hill trivia, you are good to go. You will be asked about your background and details of any out of country trip you might have taken. They give the answer on the spot. If you’ve passed, you’ll get a letter for your oath ceremony in the mail, about a month after the interview.

 

My mom passed her interview and her oath ceremony is on Feb 3rd, I shall update this space once I know what goes there and the process after that.

Featured Image: Purchased from Shutterstock

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