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How Do I Start the USA Citizenship Process?

Published: March 15th, 2017
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If you are interested in applying for naturalization or citizenship, there are several requirements that you must fulfill in order to be approved. First, you must determine your eligibility for citizenship by truthfullycompleting an M-480 sheet. This form asks several yes or no questions that break down the complex naturalization requirements into a simple questionnaire. It is important to note that while this guide sheet can point you in the right direction, it does not substitute the experienced counsel of an immigration attorney. If your results indicate that you are eligible, you may move on towards preparing an N-400 form.


An Application for Naturalization form, or an N-400, is an official citizenship application form. It is imperative that you complete this form honestly and carefully in order to maximize your chances of approval and avoid delays or denial. It is highly advised that you have an experienced attorney examine your form before submitting.

Once received by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may be instructed to attend a biometrics screening appointment. Make sure you arrive at the designated time and bring any paperwork that is requested. An interview will be scheduled with the USCIS to complete the application process. Again, bring any paperwork that is requested and show up on time.

Following this stage, one of the following three decisions will be issued:

  • Granted
  • Continued
  • Denied

If granted, formalities such as taking the Oath of Allegiance are all that remain in the process. For a “continued” decision, the USCIS will continue its investigation and issue another decision at a later date. This is usually from failing the English or civics requirements or providing insufficient documents. If denied, you are deemed ineligible for naturalization. You may apply again at a later date.


If you are looking to apply for U.S. citizenship, Catherine R. Henin-Clark can walk you through the process and advocate on your behalf. With more than 25 years of immigration law experience, we have the skill and extensive knowledge to guide you through the appropriate legal channels and protect your interests. Our lawyers understand your struggle, and we are prepared to everything we can to help you secure a desirable outcome for your situation.