The application process to become a citizen in Naperville involves several steps and requires a certain amount of preparation. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements. Current or former members of the U.S. armed services may be exempted from some of these requirements, although other qualifications likely apply.
The Naperville application process for naturalization, which is the term for becoming a citizen, starts with an evaluation of eligibility and collection of credentials. Those who are uncertain whether they qualify or who need assistance are advised to consult an experienced immigration attorney.
Eligibility for the Naturalization Process
To apply for naturalization, an individual must be at least 18 years old. Younger individuals may become citizens based on their parents’ citizenship and may apply for a certificate of citizenship without going through the naturalization process.
Those eligible for naturalization must be lawful permanent residents of the U.S. for at least five years unless circumstances such as military service or marriage to a U.S. citizen decreases the time requirement. They must also have not been out of the U.S. for a certain amount of time, unless serving in the military. In many cases, the residency requirements allow no more than 30 months out of the last five years abroad and with no trips out of the country lasting a year or more.
As part of demonstrating readiness for citizenship, an applicant must understand how to read, write, speak elementary English and understand the basics about U.S. history and government. The Naperville application process for naturalization also includes demonstration of good moral character and a willingness to support the Constitution of the U.S.
Application for Naturalization
An applicant who is eligible for the Naperville application process for naturalization must complete a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and prepare supporting documentation. Documents requested with the application may include (depending on circumstances):
- Copies of the individual’s permanent resident ID card
- Check or money order for the application fee
- Passport photographs (for those who live outside the U.S.)
- Evidence of a spouse’s citizenship
- Documents changing a name
- Documents certifying military service
- Evidence proving consistent residency
In addition, if an individual was ever arrested or failed to pay taxes, information about the disposition of these cases would also need to be included.
After an individual submits a Form N-400, he or she should receive a receipt. The status of the application and general times for case processing is posted on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
Biometrics and Interview
Some applicants receive notice that USCIS needs biometric information from them. This information includes fingerprints and photos. The agency would notify applicants of the time, date, and location where they should report for biometrics collection.
The agency would also notify applicants of the date, place, and time of an interview. For many people, the most nerve-wracking part of the Naperville application process for naturalization is the interview. During the interview, an agent asks questions about the information on the N-400 application form.
Part of the questioning process is a test of the ability to understand and answer questions in English. It is important to be familiar with the information on the form, and to tell the agent about information that may have changed. The process also includes a test on U.S. government and history.
More Information About the Naperville Application Process for Naturalization
Those who need assistance in preparing an application or getting ready for the interview and testing process may find it helpful to consult a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. Additionally, USCIS also posts informational videos on the agency website.
There are successful strategies that could be used to help with the testing and interview process. For instance, if an applicant does not understand a question, it is usually better to ask the officer to rephrase a question rather than to guess at an answer. The Naperville application process for naturalization can be challenging, but applicants who are correctly prepared are more likely to meet with success.