Becoming a Citizen

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Becoming a U.S. citizen is a significant life event, and comprehending the intricate process of naturalization is vital for a successful application.

As immigration attorneys, we have had the tremendous honor and opportunity to be part of this process. Our firm has helped thousands of people obtain US citizenship, and we can do the same for you, too!

If you or a loved one need an immigration attorney for citizenship naturalization, it would be our pleasure to be of service to you.

Below, please find a summary of the N-400 process. Should you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please do not hesitate to call us at 602-989-5000.

Obtain Your Citizenship

Naturalization is the process by which a legal permanent resident can become a U.S. citizen. Citizenship gives the individual certain benefits such as:

  • The right to vote
  • Bringing family members to the U.S.,
  • Becoming eligible for Federal jobs.
  • Run for elective office where citizenship is required.
  • Obtain certain state and federal benefits not available to noncitizens.
  • Participate on a jury.

A person can either apply on an individual basis or the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Individual Basis: If the person is not married to a U.S. citizen, he or she is eligible to apply for citizenship after five years of having their legal permanent residency.

Basis of Marriage to a U.S. Citizen: If the individual has been a legal permanent resident (LPR) for three years and is married to a U.S. citizen, and has been married to that same person for the past three years, he or she is eligible to apply for citizenship.


The naturalization process takes approximately six months. To qualify for U.S. citizenship through naturalization, applicants must meet several stringent criteria. These include:

Age Requirement: Individuals must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.

Residency Duration: A minimum of five years as a green card holder immediately preceding the application, except in cases of marriage-based residency, where three years suffice.

Residence and Physical Presence: Continuous residence within the United States, including at least three months within the state or USCIS district of residence.

English Language Proficiency and Knowledge of U.S. History and Government: Applicants must demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak English, alongside a comprehensive understanding of U.S. history and government.

Good Moral Character: Applicant must not have committed the following crimes within the five years immediately prior to the filing date (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Aggravated felonies
  • Conviction of one or more crimes of moral turpitude
  • Conviction of two or more crimes with a combined sentence of at least five years
  • Controlled substance violation, except for 30g or less of marijuana
  • Being incarcerated for 180 days or more
  • Prostitution offenses

*Exceptions to some of these criteria exist for individuals meeting specific age and residency requirements, as outlined by USCIS guidelines.


Step 1: Completing the N-400 Form

The initial phase of the naturalization process involves the completion of the N-400 form, the official application for U.S. citizenship. The form itself costs $640.00. However, the biometrics exam is always included in the filing fee, totaling $725.00.

The following are some of the documents to send with the form N-400:

  • Passport style photos
  • Copy of marriage certificate (if applying on the basis of marriage)
  • Copy of divorce decrees or Death Certificates of previous marriage (if applicable)
  • Copy of front and back of green card
  • Certified court documents (if arrested or charged with a crime, or had a crime expunged)
  • Evidence of registration with Selective Service (if a male who lived in the U.S. between age 18 and 26

Step 2: Biometrics Appointment

Once the N-400 application is received and processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the applicant will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment, where his or her fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be collected. This information is used for security and background checks. It’s a straightforward process and typically occurs approximately one month after form submission.

Step 3: The Interview and Test

About two months after completing the biometrics, the applicant will receive a notice with the interview date, time, and location.

What you will need to bring to the interview:

  • Green card
  • Valid state-issued identification
  • Passports and travel documents
  • Birth certificates of children (if children are indicated on the application)
  • Tax returns
  • Certified court documents (if there is a criminal history)

During the interview, a USCIS officer will ask questions about the application and the applicant’s background. They may also test the applicant’s knowledge of English and U.S. history and government (civics test). It’s crucial to be well-prepared for this interview by reviewing the material provided by USCIS.

Exceptions and Exemptions

  • Applicants meeting specific age and residency criteria might be exempted from the English and/or civics tests. For example, if an applicant is over 50 years of age and has held a green card for at least 20 years, they may be exempt from the English language requirement. If the applicant is over the age of 65 and has been an LPR for 20 years or over, they will be given a short version of the history and government tests that are twenty questions long.
  • Certain individuals might be allowed to take the civics test in their native language if they meet specific criteria or require accommodations due to disabilities.

Step 4: Taking the Oath of Allegiance

Upon successful completion of the interview and test, the applicant will receive a notice for the Oath of Allegiance ceremony. This is the final step in becoming a U.S. citizen. During the ceremony, the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance, pledging loyalty to the United States. After taking the oath, the Certificate of Naturalization is issued, officially granting the applicant U.S. citizenship.


In the pursuit of US citizenship through naturalization, applicants often encounter several hurdles. Below, we outline common obstacles and provide actionable advice on how to navigate them effectively:

Language and Civics Test Concerns:
One of the most prevalent challenges is the English language and civics test. To address this, it’s crucial to practice your English language skills and thoroughly study for the civics test using official USCIS study materials. If you encounter difficulties with English, you may qualify for an exemption or accommodation, which our attorneys can help you explore and obtain.

Document Verification Issues:
Document verification can be a stumbling block due to missing or incomplete documentation. To prevent this, we recommend following USCIS guidelines meticulously when submitting your documents. Our attorneys can assist you in ensuring all required documents are included with your application, minimizing the chances of verification issues.

Lengthy Processing Times:
USCIS processing times can vary, leading to unexpected delays for some applicants. Stay informed by regularly checking the USCIS website for processing time updates. If your application is significantly delayed, our attorneys can guide you through the process of contacting USCIS to inquire about your case’s status, ensuring that you remain informed and your application progresses as smoothly as possible.


The journey toward naturalization is a multi-step process that demands careful attention and often benefits from expert guidance. Thus, it is advisable to consult with experienced immigration attorneys who can provide guidance and representation throughout the entire process.

You can reach out to the leading Arizona citizenship and naturalization lawyers at Alcock & Associates for a free case evaluation. Our experienced immigration attorneys can streamline the process and ensure that you receive the guidance and support needed to achieve your citizenship goals.


If you’re considering the application for US citizenship through naturalization, it’s essential to have all the necessary information and guidance to make well-informed decisions. That’s where our team of dedicated citizenship and naturalization attorneys steps in to assist you. We offer a complimentary consultation at your convenience, ensuring you have expert support throughout your naturalization process.


The path to US citizenship can be demanding, but with our experienced citizenship and naturalization attorneys by your side, you’re in capable hands. We possess in-depth knowledge of the naturalization process and are fully committed to your success. We are here to simplify your journey, provide professional guidance, and support you at every step as we work together towards achieving your goal of becoming a US citizen through naturalization.

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Choosing Alcock & associates was a blessing to us from day one. They made my wife’s immigration case a breeze. Daniella Hernandez helped us and she was wonderful. If she wasn’t available to speak at the moment, we would always get a quick call soon after. She answered every question we had with confidence and it was clear that she knew what she was doing.

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Mr. Alcock since the early 2000 and I’ve seen all his work and growth on helping the community and now after 10 years of residency, I had no doubt of coming to the firm for advice regarding my citizenship process.

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Very good group of lawyers who work, for your interests without any rest. Thanks to that today I can say that I am a resident I do not have how to thank everything they did for me. Thank you very much and may the Lord bless you.

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Alcock & Associates P.C.
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