Canadians applying for US Citizenship

The most common path to U.S. citizenship allows a permanent resident Green Card holder to apply for naturalization. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen after he or she fulfills the requirements established by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Pathway to U.S. Citizenship

For an adult immigrant to become a U.S. citizen, you must go through the process of naturalization. The most common paths to U.S. citizenship through naturalization call for the immigrant to meet the following criteria…


Permanent Resident

US Citizenship through Green Card

If you have been a permanent resident green card holder for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements, you may qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship.


Married to a U.S. Citizen

US Citizenship through Marriage

If you have been a permanent resident green card holder for 3 years or more through marriage to a U.S. citizen, you may qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship.


Child of a U.S. Citizen

US Citizenship through Parents

If you are the child of a U.S. citizen you may qualify for naturalization if you were born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen, you may apply for U.S. citizenship.


U.S. Military Service

US Citizenship through US Military Service

If you have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements, you may qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship.

If you have not acquired a permanent resident green card, you cannot apply for U.S. citizenship. Learn more about acquiring a green card here…

U.S. Citizenship Eligibility Requirements…

The Naturalization Process…

Once you meet all the qualification criteria, the first step to becoming a U.S. citizen is to file an Application for Naturalization using Form N-400 and pay the filing fee. You may fill out and mail a paper application or complete the application online at If you file online, you must first create an online account with U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS).

Filing Fee – $640

If you file your Form N-400 online, you may pay your fee online. If you file your Form N-400 by mail (paper), you may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or by credit card

If you’re applying based on your military service, from abroad, or for a fee reduction or waiver, you may not complete your application online. You must mail your application to the appropriate USCIS office.

The next step is your biometrics appointment. You are required to appear at an application support center for biometric capturing to submit fingerprints, photograph, and signature. USCIS will take your fingerprints during naturalization in order to complete a background check. The fingerprinting appointment usually takes place about a month after USCIS receives your U.S. citizenship application. If you are eligible for naturalization, the photograph taken may be used on your Certificate of Naturalization. Therefore, we recommend that on the day of your appointment, you dress in clothing that is acceptable for display on your Certificate of Naturalization.

The Interview
The citizenship interview is usually scheduled around 14 months after filing your application. Exactly how long it will take to process your naturalization application, however, depends heavily on the USCIS field office handling your case, which is assigned to you based on your ZIP code.

During this interview, a USCIS officer will verify that all of the information on your naturalization application is correct. The interview usually takes place at the nearest USCIS office. If you are applying from abroad, you will attend the interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are in active military duty, your interview may be held at a military facility.

The Civics Exam
The citizenship interview includes a civics test. The actual civics test is NOT a multiple choice test. During the naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will ask you up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions in English. You must answer correctly 6 of the 10 questions to pass the civics test.

This is a two-part test. The first component, an English language test, will evaluate your written and spoken English skills. The second, a civics test, will assess your knowledge of U.S. history and basic information about how the U.S. government works.

USCIS provides study materials to help you prepare. You’ll also have two chances to take the tests per application: once during your interview and again at a later date to retake any portion that you didn’t pass the first time.

If you pass the interview and exam, the USCIS officer will approve your application at the end of the interview. If you do not pass, USCIS will send you a denial letter explaining why, but you may appeal their decision within 30 days of receiving the letter or reapply.

Once your application is approved, you may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a ceremony is unavailable, they will mail you a notice with the date, time, and location of your scheduled naturalization ceremony.

Return Your Permanent Resident Card
You must return your Permanent Resident Card to USCIS when you check in for your naturalization ceremony. You will no longer need your Permanent Resident Card because you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

Take the Oath of Allegiance
You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Certificate of Naturalization
Carefully review your Certificate of Naturalization and notify USCIS of any errors before leaving the ceremony. You may use your Certificate of Naturalization as official proof that you are a U.S. citizen.

Once you become a U.S. citizen, you can do the following:

Apply for a U.S. Passport
We strongly recommend that you apply for a U.S. passport through the U.S. Department of State soon after you take the Oath of Allegiance. In addition to your Certificate of Naturalization, a U.S. passport serves as official proof of citizenship. You will get an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony in the U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet. You will need to submit your original certificate of naturalization or citizenship AND a photocopy when applying for your U.S. passport.

Register to Vote
Voting in federal elections is both a right and a responsibility that comes with U.S. citizenship. After you take the Oath of Allegiance, you will have the opportunity to register to vote. At administrative naturalization ceremonies, forms may be distributed by a state or local government election office, a non-governmental organization, or a USCIS official.

Update your Social Security Record
After your naturalization ceremony, you should update your Social Security record at a local office of the Social Security Administration. Please wait at least ten days after your ceremony to ensure that data reflecting your naturalization has been updated. You will need your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport when you visit the SSA to update your record.

U.S. Citizenship Questions? We Are Here to Help!

Contact us if you are a permanent resident of the United States and would like to become a U.S. Citizen.

Our immigration team offers a FREE consultation to discuss your immigration needs.