The best way to win a citizenship case is to take pains to ensure that your initial application process goes smoothly. Following is a step-by-step guide for permanent residents wishing to become US citizens:
1. Complete Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and pay the $725 filing fee ($640 for the N-400 and $85 for biometrics). You should receive a receipt notice within two or three weeks of filing. If the USCIS considers your application incomplete, it might send you a Request for Evidence or even reject your application outright.
2. Attend a biometrics appointment and submit to fingerprinting, photographing and a background check (for criminal convictions, etc.). The USCIS will notify you of your biometrics appointment within three to five weeks after your N-400 filing date. Your biometrics appointment should be scheduled within two months after your filing date. Take your green card with you to your biometrics appointment.
3. Complete an interview with a USCIS officer. This will involve confirming your English language ability, taking a civics exam and answering questions from a USCIS officer confirming that the answers you supplied in your N-400 application are still true. The citizenship interview should take place about 6 to 10 months after your original N-400 filing date.
After the interview, the officer will give you Form N-652 which will either grant, deny or delay your citizenship application. It could be delayed if, for example, you fail the civics exam.
4. If your citizenship interview was successful, you will receive Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, within one to four weeks after your naturalization interview.
5. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States at a naturalization ceremony. If all goes well, this ceremony will take place about 8 to 12 months after your N-400 filing date. After you take the oath, you will be provided with a Certificate of Naturalization. This is your proof of US citizenship.