Every year, millions of green card holders residing in Los Angeles, California go a step further to become citizens of the US. To do this, these lawful permanent residents (LPRs) must meet stringent eligibility requirements established by the government. Once that happens, they can begin attaining US citizenship by filling out Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.
The journey to US citizenship
Basic eligibility requirements mandate that the applicant be 18 years or older and must have possessed a green card for a minimum of five years. If the applicant has an American spouse, he must have had a green card for three years. However, there is an exception for those applying for naturalization from the military. An LPR can apply online unless he is living outside of the US. Those requesting financial assistance with filing fees cannot file online but must submit paperwork by mail. The applicant should keep copies of his application and all documentation as his interview will include some of the questions on the paperwork. Once the application has been filed and the $725 fee has been paid, the applicant can expect a wait time of 6 to 24 months for Form N-400 to be processed.
Preparing the application
The naturalization applicant must include a clear copy of his green card on both sides. If the applicant is a spouse of a US citizen, he must include a marriage certificate or other documents proving the status of his marital status. If he is out of the US, he needs to include two photos similar to passport photos. If his military service is the basis for the citizenship application, he must fill out Form N-426, the “Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service.”
Form N-400 is the first step on a long but exciting journey. Applicants must fill out the forms properly and submit the correct documentation. Mistakes could cause the application to be delayed or rejected. Therefore, take your time and do your due diligence. At the end of the journey, you will hear those words you’ve longed to hear: “Welcome to America.”