Understanding the process of becoming a U.S. citizen is the first step on your pathway to citizenship and we are here to help, The San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative hosts regular group processing workshops and offers individual consultations with our immigration service providers to guide you on your pathway to citizenship.
KEY Steps in the Naturalization Process
Step 1: Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen
What to do: If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, or you did not acquire or derive U.S. citizenship from your parent(s) automatically after birth, go to the next step.
Step 2: Determine if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen
What to do: Review the naturalization eligibility worksheet (link to USCIS document) to help you decide if you are eligible to apply for naturalization.
Step 3: Prepare your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
What to do:
Step 4: Submit your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
What to do: Once you submit Form N-400, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. You can check current processing times and the status of your application online or by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (for the hearing impaired).
Step 5: Prepare for the interview and test
What to do: There are many free resources available in San Francisco to help you prepare for the citizenship interview and civics exam. Check out these free resources to help you get ready.
Step 6: Go to the biometrics appointment, if applicable
What to do: If you need to take biometrics, USCIS will send you an appointment notice that includes your biometrics appointment date, time, and location. Arrive at the designated location at the scheduled time. Have your biometrics taken.
Step 7: Complete the interview
Once all the preliminary processes on your case are complete, USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process. You must report to the USCIS office at the date and time on your appointment notice. Please bring the appointment notice with you.
Step 8: Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
USCIS will issue you a written notice of decision with one of the following:
Granted—USCIS may approve your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes that you are eligible for naturalization.
Continued—USCIS may continue your application if you need to provide additional evidence/documentation, fail to provide USCIS the correct documents, or fail the English and/or civics test the first time.
Denied—USCIS will deny your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes you are not eligible for naturalization.
Step 9: Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance
What to expect: If USCIS approved your Form N-400 in Step 7, you may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a same-day naturalization ceremony is unavailable, USCIS will mail you a notification with the date, time, and location of your scheduled ceremony.
Step 10: Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.
What to do: Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to Form N-445. Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen. Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, review it, and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site.
Step 11: Understanding U.S. citizenship
Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. Review this list from USCIS on some of the most important rights and responsibilities that all citizens—both Americans by birth and by choice—should exercise, honor, and respect.
For more detailed information on the naturalization process, please visit USCIS.