Steps in the Naturalization Process
Please note that BCCC staff or faculty may not help students fill out any legal forms, such as the N-400 Application for Naturalization. We are partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) of Baltimore to provide affordable application service assistance. Please contact the IRC for more information or to schedule an appointment at 410-558-3260.
In order to apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen, you must follow these steps:
- Determine whether you are eligible to become a citizen by using the USCIS Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet.
- Complete an N-400 Application for Naturalization. Please read all instructions and answer all questions by accessing the form on the USCIS website.
- Prepare all required required documents for application (see the "Document Checklist" on USCIS website), including: a copy of your green card (front and back), two passport-style color photographs with your full name and A# printed on the back, and either applicable fees (check or money order made out to the Department of Homeland Security) or, if eligible, an I-912 Request for Fee Waiver. Current fees for naturalization are $725 for applicants under 75 years old, and $640 for applicants 75 years or older.
- For Maryland residents, mail application, required documents, and payment or fee waiver application to:
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 660060
Dallas, TX 75266
(Note: It is best to certified mail to mail the application in order to be able to track the application)
- Once USCIS receives your properly completed application, you will receive the following:
a. A receipt notice (usually within several weeks)
b. A notice for a Biometrics appointment to get your fingerprints taken (usually within one month or more)
c. (A request for additional information - when necessary)
d. An appointment notice for an interview with USCIS (usually within several months after your Biometrics appointment)
Please note that current USCIS naturalization processing times vary from 6 months - 1 year+
- USCIS will schedule a naturalization exam/interview at your local field office. In Maryland, this will be located at the Baltimore District Office, 3701 Koppers St, Baltimore, MD 21227. Please bring your interview appointment notice, green card, government ID, and any other required documents with you. You will be asked to go through security and check-in. A USCIS officer will then review your application with you, and administer the English speaking, reading, writing, and civics tests. Please note that some applicants may be exempt from one or more portions of the test if they qualify for an exemption based on age/length of time in the U.S, medical condition, or disability. More information on exemptions can be found on the USCIS website here.
- If you do not pass any portion of the USCIS naturalization exam/interview, USCIS will schedule a second appointment to re-test whichever portions you fail to complete in the first appointment. You will receive only two appointments - if any portion is failed a second time, you will be denied citizenship. You must re-apply for citizenship in order to retake the exam.
- If you pass all portions of the naturalization exam and are deemed eligible for citizenship, you will receive a notice for a Naturalization Oath Ceremony. You are not a U.S citizen until you have taken the Oath of Allegiance at the ceremony. At this time you will also receive your certificate of naturalization and return your green card. Please note that applicants may be scheduled for this ceremony on the same day as their naturalization exam, or may be scheduled to return on a different date. Applicants who would like to change their name upon citizenship must wait at least one more month to have the oath administered to them by a judge in a judicial courtroom. Once you recite the Oath of Allegiance - congratulations, you are a U.S citizen!
For steps after becoming a U.S citizen, see the USCIS document, "Important information for new citizens."