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U.S. Citizenship FAQ

Answers from our Chicago Lawyers

Are you seeking U.S. citizenship? This is an exciting prospect but a challenging process. At Vicario Law Group, LLC., we are passionate about helping immigrants achieve their goals and obtain U.S. citizenship. As you navigate the process, you will likely have many questions. Our Chicago attorneys have answers. Read our FAQ to learn more.

If your question is not answered below, please feel free to contact us online or at (312) 698-9066 to schedule a free initial consultation.

I am a legal permanent resident (green card holder) – when can I apply for U.S. citizenship?

The answer depends on how you obtained your legal permanent resident card. You will be able to apply for U.S. citizenship either after three or five years of being a legal permanent resident.* If you obtained your green card through a U.S. citizen spouse, you may apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of being a legal permanent resident. If you did not, you will be eligible for U.S. citizenship after being a green card holder for five years.

*Most applicants for naturalization are eligible to apply for citizenship 90 days before completing the three- or five-year legal permanent residence requirement.

What are the requirements to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization?

You may apply for naturalization once you meet the following general eligibility requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except if you are an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces)
  • You have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 5 years, or 3 years if you obtained your legal permanent status through a U.S. citizen spouse
  • You have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing
  • You have been physically present in the U.S. for 2.5 years or 1.5 years if you obtained your legal permanent status through a U.S. citizen spouse
  • You demonstrate continues residence for 5 years, or 3 years if you obtained your legal permanent status through a U.S. citizen spouse
  • You demonstrate good moral character
  • You demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. constitution
  • You demonstrate basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (by passing a civics exam) as well as an ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English
  • You take an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S.

Note: the previously mentioned requirements are general requirements and some may not apply to your specific circumstances. You should contact our office for a free consultation to determine if you qualify for U.S. citizenship.

What is the fee for the N-400, Application for Naturalization?

The total fee is $680. This includes $595 for the N-400 Application and $85 for biometrics.

Note, there are two exceptions to paying the $85 biometrics fee:

  • Applicants 75 years of age or older are not charged a biometric fee, the total fee is $595.
  • No fee is required for military applicants filing under Section 328 and 329 of the INA.

How can I pay my N-400 Application fee?

USCIS will accept a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card payment using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. You must send the fee with your N-400 Application. If paying by money order, personal check, cashier’s check, you must make it payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not use the initials DHS or USDHS. Also, do not send cash.

How long is the process to become a U.S. citizen if I am filing form N-400?

On average, the entire process should take about six months after Form N-400 is filed with USCIS. Keep in mind that the actual time it takes could be more or less, depending on your specific circumstances and the processing times of the USCIS office having jurisdiction over your application.

If USCIS approves my N-400, Application for Naturalization, when will I become a citizen?

You become a U.S. citizen as soon as you take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in a formal naturalization ceremony.

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