Four steps to how I became a U.S. citizen
February 18, 2015
I met and married my American husband in the Philippines; we’ve lived in the Bay area of California for seven years now. Although I was eligible to apply for US citizenship after three years of residency, it wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to apply.
First, I downloaded Form N-400 from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website. Here’s what followed:
Step 1: Application Form N-400
The application was easy to complete. Some of the required documents included:
- Marriage certificate
- Spouse’s passport copy
- Home mortgage paperwork
- U.S. tax returns for three years
I submitted my application with the following:
- Form N-400
- Copy of both sides of my green card
- Personal check for payment
- Two passport photos
- All documents required per checklist
Step 2: Biometrics appointment
A biometrics appointment was next. This consisted of a background check, fingerprint check, FBI name check and other fraud detection measures and a digital photo.
I was given the booklet “Learn about the United States” to study for my upcoming naturalization interview. There are 100 questions about American history and government. At the citizenship interview, I would be asked 10 questions and would need at least six correct answers to pass. There would also be an English language test: speaking/verbal, reading and writing.
Step 3: Naturalization interview
The interview at the state capitol in Sacramento, CA, was several weeks later. The waiting room was full of people, many of them reviewing their study booklets. I was very nervous, so I reviewed mine, too, while I waited.
In the interview, the immigration officer verified the application information, including my name, date of birth, husband’s name and more. The civics section of the test seemed easy to me: Name one branch of government. How many senators are there? Which two states border Mexico? etc. In the English test, I was asked to read a question aloud and then write a full, complete answer.
After the test, I signed some documents and the immigration officer congratulated me, presenting a letter confirming that I was approved to take the oath of citizenship. I was asked to return at 2:00 pm for the oath ceremony that same day. I was very excited and ready.
Step 4: Oath Ceremony
At 2:00 pm, the oath ceremony began with a presentation by a State Department representative on U.S. passports and procedures to apply.
We sang the national anthem then a judge welcomed us. Over 200 people were there to become new citizens that day. An officer asked people to stand up when their home country was called. It was amazing to see how many countries were represented.
We stood together, raised our right hands and took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance, repeating after the USCIS official, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. This concluded the oath ceremony. We were American citizens!
The process took less than four months from application to the oath ceremony. When I received my Certificate of Naturalization, I promptly applied for a passport and received it in about two weeks. Finally holding my U.S. passport was emotional for me. I would have never dreamed that I would be able to work and live in America and actually become a proud American citizen.
When you’re relocating to a new country, it’s helpful to work with people who know the latest updates and requirements for each country. Crown Relocations provides helpful immigration services so you always Go knowing. Contact Crown San Francisco or any of our local offices throughout the United States.