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The requirements for naturalization that need fuller explanation are
discussed in more detail at a later point. The steps to become
naturalized, however, are the same for all persons and are set out
Filing the Application - Fingerprints
The first step is to get an application and, except for children under
14 years of age, a fingerprint card from the nearest office of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service or from a social service agency
in the community. The application to be used is Form N-400, "Application
The application, the fingerprint card, and the Biographic Information
form if appropriate, which are furnished without charge, must be filled
out according to the instructions and filed with the office of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service with jurisdiction over the
applicant's residence. Three unsigned photographs as described in the
application must be submitted. A fee is required and must be submitted
with the application. No currency should be sent by mail.
Citizenship of Applicant's Children
If a parent who is applying for naturalization expects to be naturalized
before any of his or her children reaches age 18, it is likely that such
children who are living in the United States will automatically become
citizens. This would happen if the children's other parent already is a
citizen, or is deceased, or if both parents are naturalized at the same
time, or if the parents are legally separated and the parent being
naturalized has the legal custody of the children, or if the parent
being naturalized is the mother of the children and the children were
born out of wedlock.
These children may obtain certificates of citizenship in their own
names, showing that they became citizens on the same date that the
parent was naturalized, by filing Form N-600, "Application for
Certificate of Citizenship," in accordance with instructions on the
form. The application must be filed after the naturalization of the
parent(s). A fee is required and must be submitted with the application.
No currency should be sent in the mail. The children involved who are
over age 14 will appear before the naturalization examiner and must take
the same oath of allegiance as is required of persons who naturalize.
Examination on the Application
After certain actions on the application have been completed by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service, the applicant must appear before
a naturalization examiner for examination on the application. The
Immigration and Naturalization Service will advise the applicant when
and where to appear for the examination. The applicant will be examined
on the information submitted on the application for naturalization, and
on his or her English literacy and knowledge of the form of government
and history of the United States.
If the examiner finds that an applicant has not demonstrated eligibility
for naturalization, the application will be denied and the applicant
will be so notified. The applicant may request a .hearing on the denied
application by filing Form N-336, "Request for Hearing on a Decision in
Naturalization Proceedings Under Section 335 of the Act," according to
instructions included on the form, and with the required fee.
After the examination has been completed and the application approved,
the applicant will be notified to appear at an oath ceremony where the
applicant will be sworn in as a citizen of the United States. The
applicant may be able to choose to be sworn in as a citizen by a Service
officer in a Service-conducted ceremony or by a judge of a competent
court in a court-conducted ceremony. In the event that the applicant
wishes to apply for a change of name, the applicant will be required to
appear at a court-conducted oath ceremony.
Sometimes an applicant for naturalization is prevented by sickness or
physical disability from appearing before an examining officer. When
this happens, it may be possible to make other arrangements so that the
applicant will not have to travel to a Service office or to appear in
court. Further information about what should be done by such a person to
become naturalized can be obtained from the nearest office of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service.
When the applicant appears at the oath ceremony, he or she takes an oath
of allegiance to the United States. In doing so, he or she gives up
allegiance to any foreign country and promises to support and defend the
Constitution and laws of the United States.
When a large number of persons become citizens in a ceremony, it may not
be possible to issue certificates immediately showing that they have
been granted citizenship. In such instances, the certificates of
naturalization are mailed to them later, or other arrangements for
subsequent delivery are made.
excerpted from Form N-17 (Rev 11/30/92) N
by Dept of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service
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