Fallon Ritchie and John Garay

6 Steps of the Naturalization Process

Step 1: sign the Declaration of Intention

This paper is then filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Step 2: maintain a physical presence

The second step occurs once the aliens have been living in the United States for at least 5 years. Aliens who are married to a US citizen only have to wait 3 years. While they are waiting, many immigrants take special classes to prepare them for citizenship. After they have lived in the state where they seek naturalization for at least 3 months, and are at least 18 years old, they are able to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Complete the USCIS form N-400

The N-400 is the form to get the process started. It cost $595 to file the application for naturalization, plus an $85 biometrics fee. One will also need to attach a copy of their green card.

Step 4: get fingerprinted

One will be given a date and address to a local office where they will be fingerprinted. Their fingerprints are then run through the FBI for a background check. This is to enable safety throughout the country.

Step 5: attend a citizenship interview

To become a legalized citizen, the next step is an interview with a USCIS officer. The officer goes through the person's N-400 and confirms answers to all of the questions. The officer also test one's knowledge of reading, writing, speaking English, and basic facts of the U.S. government during the interview. The USCIS then makes a decision.

Step 6: attend the oath ceremony

If the application is approved, the final step is attending a ceremony and pledging an oath of allegiance. The alien then swears to be loyal to the United States, obey the Constitution and all other laws, and to perform military or other duties if needed. The person then signs a document and is a citizen of the United States.

The Loss of Citizenship

Citizens can lose citizenship in 3 ways.


  • loss of citizenship through fraud or deception during the naturalization process


  • simplest way to lose citizenship
  • giving up one's citizenship by leaving one's native country to live in a foreign country
  • may be voluntary or involuntary

Punishment for a Crime

  • convicted of federal crimes that involve disloyalty
  • examples: treason, participation in a rebellion, and attempts to overthrow the government through violent means

Illegal Aliens

  • about 12 million aliens are living in the United States illegally
  • some were denied permission to immigrate and others never applied
  • illegal aliens enter the US in different ways
  • a few enter as "visitors" but then never leave
  • some risk arrest in crossing our borders with Mexico and Canada
  • others are foreigners who have stayed in the US after their legal permits have expired
  • it is illegal to hire illegal immigrants, therefore most have no jobs
  • if they are able to find a job, they receive little pay and no benefits
  • the United States Border Patrol works each day to detect and prevent the illegal aliens into the United States

Legal Aliens

  • aliens are classified into different categories by the United States law
  • resident aliens are people from foreign countries who have established permanent residence in the US
  • they may stay in the United States as long as they want without becoming American citizens
  • nonresident aliens are people from foreign countries who expect to stay in the US for a short amount of time
  • refugees are people fleeing from their country to escape persecution
  • legal aliens have very similar lives to American citizens
  • many have jobs, own property, attend public schools, and receive government services
  • they must pay taxes and are entitled to legal protection
  • they do not have political rights and cannot vote in elections or run for office
  • legal aliens must also carry identification cards at all times