fbpx How To Become a U.S. Citizen and Prepare for the Citizenship Test - Documented - Documented
Iso Logo
Logo Documented
Documented dactilar logo
View Resources For Immigrants
Dec 24, 2023 | April Xu

How To Become a U.S. Citizen and Prepare for the Citizenship Test

This guide will introduce you to the steps of naturalization and resources such as citizenship classes.

Thousands of people go through the process of naturalization each year to become citizens in the United States. The procedure by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident is known as naturalization. By becoming a citizen, you pledge allegiance to the United States, its constitution and laws. In return, you receive all of the benefits of citizenship. 

Also Read: How to Get a Green Card as an Undocumented Immigrant in the United States

This guide will introduce you to the steps of naturalization and resources, such as citizenship classes.

Who is eligible for naturalization

Lawful permanent residents who want to become citizens must meet the requirements of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA), including the following criteria: 

Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400

Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for at least five years (three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)

Continuously reside in the U.S. for at least five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen).

Have lived for the last three months in the district or state in which you are applying for citizenship

Be a person of good moral character

Be able to read, write, and speak basic English

Understand the fundamentals of U.S. history and the form and principles of the U.S. government

Pass a U.S. government and history test

Demonstrate a commitment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution

Not have a previous exemption or discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces because of being an alien

Have never deserted the U.S. Armed Forces

Steps to Petition for U.S. Citizenship

Complete and file form N-400

Next, you need to complete and file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The form will ask for your name, address, immigration status and other personal information. It will also ask you questions about your criminal history, if any, and your time spent in the U.S.

Answer all questions truthfully and completely while filling out the form. You must include the necessary supporting documents, such as a copy of your green card, passport-style photographs and any other documentation USCIS requests.

Attend a biometrics appointment

You will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment once USCIS receives your application. You will be fingerprinted, photographed, and asked to sign your name during the appointment. This information is used to conduct a background check.

Also Read: USCIS Case Status, How To Check Your Visa Petition and More

Attend naturalization interview and civics test

You will be scheduled for an interview after USCIS receives and reviews your application and background check. During the interview, they will ask you questions about your application, knowledge of the U.S. government and history. You will take an English test, including reading comprehension, writing and speaking components. 

You need to study 128 questions about U.S. history and government for the new civics test. You will answer 20 questions in the test and need to get 60% (12 answers) correct.

Also Read: How Immigrants Can Take a Free English Course in NYC

If you fail, you have two opportunities to retake the tests between 60 and 90 days after the date of your initial interview. When you retake the test, you will be tested only on the portion you failed during the first test. 

Visit UsCitizenshipSupport.com to see the USCIS questions and answers. 

Receive a decision on your application

After your application is approved, you will receive a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, including the date, time, and location of your oath ceremony. You will take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen at the ceremony. If denied, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the denial. You can appeal the decision or reapply in the future.

Follow these steps carefully and seek out any additional resources or assistance you need along the way. Good luck!

Citizenship preparation resources

New York Public Library

At the New York City Public Library, you can borrow books and learning materials on naturalization and browse online resources. You can also join in-person English classes, naturalization classes and study groups for immigrants with different English proficiency levels. Library resources are listed here. You can also check the time and location of in-person classes here.


The USCIS website provides access to citizenship preparation and naturalization legal advice services. You can visit this page and enter the ZIP code of your area. The site will then show you the names and contact information of organizations near you that offer related services and resources.

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) New Americans Initiative citizenship preparation classes

This program provides students with the opportunity to learn about the U.S. naturalization process. The course teaches the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills needed to complete the naturalization form and pass the interview. Students enrolled in the class will learn about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens, U.S. history, U.S. government and civics. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants must have a computer, smartphone, or tablet with internet access, be 18 years of age or older, and have a working knowledge of English (intermediate level).

For more information or to register for a class, email newamericans@ymcanyc.org or check out this page.

Brooklyn Chinese-American Association free ESOL classes

The Association primarily serves immigrants living in Sunset Park, Borough Park and other neighborhoods by providing a variety of free adult education classes and services. Classes provided include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), citizenship ESOL and citizenship interview preparation classes. Check out this website for more information. 

Address: 5000 8th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11220

Phone: 718-438-0008

Email: esol@bca.net

Chinese Progressive Association

This nonprofit provides immigrants with a number of free resources and services, including naturalization counseling, citizenship preparation classes, green card renewals, and helping with naturalization fee waivers for eligible immigrants. The Society hosts several online and in-person citizenship classes each year for students with different English proficiency levels. Please visit this page for more information.

Address: 230 Grand St., Ste. 504, New York, NY 10013

Phone: 212-274-1891

Email: cpanyc@cpanyc.org

The New Americans Campaign

The website has a Chinese landing page to help immigrants find no- or low-cost immigration and citizenship resources near them. You can also check the website’s “Citizenship Events” page for upcoming online citizenship classes.

Asian Americans for Equality

This 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in New York City advocates for equal rights for Asian Americans. It provides immigration services such as naturalization applications, application fee waivers, and more. More information can be found on this page.


Manhattan: 212-979-8988 

Queens Flushing: 718-961-0888

Queens Jackson Heights: 718-316-9993

Chinese-American Planning Council citizenship workshops

Started in 1998, the Adult Literacy Program provides classes for over 500 students in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens annually. The program allows students to acquire practical, everyday English skills essential to improving their quality of life in the U.S. The program includes citizenship workshops and social support offered to all students. Participants must be at least 18 years old and not in school, an immigrant living in New York City, and pre-screened by a teacher for reading and writing level. More information can be found on this page.

Program contact: Jeff Lau

Address: 165 Eldridge St. 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10002

Phone: 212-941-0041

Email: ecsinfo@cpc-nyc.org

Dactilar Iso Logo Documented
Powered by Rainmakers