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Frequently Ask Questions

                              Frequently Ask Questions

1. How can I become a U.S. citizen?

You may become a U.S. citizen (1) by birth or (2) through naturalization.

2. Who is born a U.S. citizen?

Generally, people are born U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or if they are born to U.S. citizens:

(1) If you were born in the United States: Including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, you are an American citizen at birth (unless you were born to a foreign diplomat).Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship.

(2) If you were born abroad to TWO U.S. citizens: And at least one of your parents lived in the United States at some point in his or her life, then in most cases you are a U.S. citizen.

(3) If you were born abroad to ONE U.S. citizen:

In most cases, you are a U.S. citizen if ALL of the following are true:

• One of your parents was a U.S. citizen when you were born;

• Your citizen parent lived at least 5 years in the United States before you were born; and

• At least 2 of these 5 years in the United States were after your citizen parent’s 14th birthday.

Your record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of your citizenship. You may also apply for a passport to have your citizenship recognized. If you need additional proof of your citizenship, you may file an “Application for Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) with USCIS to get a Certificate of Citizenship.

3. How do I become a naturalized citizen?

If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or did not acquire U.S. citizenship automatically after birth, you may still be eligible to become a citizen through the normal naturalization process. People who are 18 years and older use theApplication for Naturalization” (Form N-400) to become naturalized. Persons who acquired citizenship from parent(s) while less than 18 years of age use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) to document their citizenship. Qualified children who reside abroad use the “Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322” (Form N-600K) to document their naturalization. You may call the USCIS Forms Line at 1(800) 870- 3676 to request a Form N-400, N-600, or N-600K; or you may download any of these forms from the Internet at

4. When does my time as a Permanent Resident begin?

Your time as a Permanent Resident begins on the date you were granted permanent resident status. This date is on your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as Alien Registration Card).

5. What form do I use to file for naturalization?

You should use an “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400). Call the USCIS Forms Line at 1-800-870-3676 to request a Form N-400. You may also download the form from the internet at the following address:

6. If I have been convicted of a crime but my record has been expunged, do I need to write that on my application or tell an USCIS officer?

Yes. You should always be honest with USCIS about all:

arrests (even if you were not charged or convicted);

convictions (even if your record was cleared or expunged); and

crimes you have committed for which you were not arrested or convicted.

Even if you have committed a minor crime, USCIS may deny your application if you do not tell the USCIS officer about the incident.

7. Where do I file my naturalization application?

You should send your completed “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400) to the appropriate USCIS Service Center. Remember to make a copy of your application. DO NOT send original documents with your application unless the Document Checklist included with the Guide states that an original is required. Always make copies of documents that you send to USCIS.

8. Will USCIS help me or make accommodations for me if I am disabled?

USCIS will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities who need modifications to the naturalization process to demonstrate their eligibility. For example, if you use a wheelchair, we will make sure you can be fingerprinted, interviewed, and sworn in at a location that is wheelchair accessible. If you are hearing impaired, the officer conducting your interview will speak loudly and slowly, or we will work with you to arrange for a sign language interpreter. If you use a service animal, such as a guide dog, your animal may come with you to your interview and oath ceremony. If you know in advance that you will need some kind of accommodation, write a letter explaining what you will need and send it to the district office that will interview you after you receive your interview notice. We are continuing to work on better ways to make the naturalization process easier for applicants with disabilities.

9. How can I pay my application fee?

You must pay your application fee (and fingerprinting fee, unless you are 75 years old or older) with a personal or cashiers check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars payable to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. You may pay for both the application and fingerprinting fee with a single check or money order. Please do not combine payments for multiple applications in one check, because if we find a problem with one application, they could all be returned to you. If you live in Guam, you should make the fee payable to Treasurer, Guam. If you live in the Virgin Islands, you should make the fee payable to Commissioner of Finance of the Virgin Islands.You must send your fee with your application. Remember that your application fee is not refundable even if you withdraw your application or USCIS denies your case.

10. How long will it take to become naturalized?

The time it takes to be naturalized varies by location. USCIS is continuing to modernize and improve the naturalization process and would like to decrease the time it takes to an average of 6 months.

11. How do I find out the status of my naturalization application?

You may call the Service Center where you sent your application.

12. What if I cannot go to my scheduled interview?

It is very important not to miss your interview. If you have to miss your interview, you should write the office where your interview is scheduled as soon as possible. In your letter, you should ask to have your interview rescheduled. Rescheduling an interview may add several months to the naturalization process, so try not to change your original interview date. If you miss your scheduled interview without notifying

USCIS, we will “administratively close” your case. Unless you contact us to schedule a new interview within 1 year after we close your case, we will deny your application. We will not notify you if we close your case because you missed your interview.

13. What do I do if my address has changed?

It is important that we have your latest address. If we do not have your current address, you may not get important information from us. For example, we may not be able to notify you about the date and time of your interview or about additional documents you may need to send or bring. If you move after you have filed your application for naturalization (Form N-400), call the National Customer Service Center’s toll-free telephone number at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY: 1-800-767-1833) to report your address change. You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service of your new address to help ensure that any mail already on itsway will be forwarded to you.

14. Can I change my name when I naturalize?

You can change your name as part of your naturalization if a court in your area conducts naturalization oath ceremonies. Otherwise, no name change can be recorded on your Certificate of Naturalization unless you already changed your name legally

(such as by marriage) before completing the naturalization process.

If you decide to change your name, you will be required to complete a Petition for Name Change during your interview. Petitioning the court to change your name may delay the date of your oath ceremony, in some cases. If you petition to change your name, the new name will not be legally binding until after your oath ceremony. Your new name will appear on your Certificate of Naturalization. The USCIS does not process petitions for a name change after naturalization. However, you still may change your name after naturalization by other legal means.

15. If USCIS grants me naturalization, when will I become a citizen?

You become a citizen as soon as you take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

In some places, you can choose to take the Oath the same day as your interview. If that option is not available or if you prefer a ceremony at a later date, USCIS will notify you of the ceremony date with a “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony” (Form N-445).

16. What can I do if USCIS denies my application?

If you feel that we have wrongly denied your naturalization application, you may request a hearing with an immigration officer. Your denial letter will explain how to request a hearing and will include the form you need. The form for filing an appeal is the Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under Section

336 of the Act (Form N-336). You must file the form with us with the correct fee within 30 days after you receive a denial letter. If, after an appeal hearing with USCIS, you still believe you have been wrongly denied naturalization, you may file a petition for a new review of your application in U.S. District Court.

17. Can I reapply for naturalization if USCIS denies my application?

In many cases, you may reapply. If you reapply, you will need to complete and resubmit a new N-400 and pay the fee again. You will also need to you’re your fingerprints and photographs taken again. If your application is denied, the denial letter should indicate the date you may reapply for citizenship. If you are denied because you failed the English or civics test, you may reapply for naturalization as soon as you want. You should reapply whenever you believe you have learned enough English or civics to pass the tests.

18. What do I do if I have lost my Certificate of Naturalization? What do I use as proof of citizenship if I do not have my certificate?

You may get a new Certificate of Naturalization by submitting an Application for

Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) to USCIS. You may get an N-565 by calling the USCIS Forms Line (1-800-870-3676), or by downloading the form off the internet at Submit this form with the fee to your local USCIS office. It may take up to 1 year for you to receive a new certificate. If you have one, you may use your passport as evidence of citizenship while you wait for a replacement certificate. You should apply for a passport as soon as you become a citizen.

19. Do I need to get a new Permanent Resident Card (formerly known

as an Alien Registration Card) when USCIS issues a new version of the

card if I am applying for naturalization?

If you apply for naturalization six months or more before the expiration date on your

Permanent Resident Card, you do not have to apply for a new card. However, you may apply for a renewal Permanent Resident Card if you wish by using the Form I-90

(Available from the USCIS Forms Line or the USCIS internet site) and paying the appropriate fee. If you apply for naturalization within six months of the expiration date on your Permanent Resident Card, or dont apply for naturalization until your card has already expired, you must renew your card.

20. If I am a U.S. citizen, is my child a U.S. citizen?

A child who is born in the United States, or born abroad to a U.S. citizen(s) who lived

in (or came to) the United States for a period of time prior to the childs birth, is generally considered a U.S. citizen at birth.

A child who is:

born to a U.S. citizen who did not live in (or come to) the United States for a period of time prior to the childs birth, or

born to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent or two alien parents who naturalize after the childs birth, or

who is adopted and is permanently residing in the United States can become a U.S. citizen by action of law on the date on which all of the following requirements have been met:

The child was lawfully admitted for permanent residence*, and

Either parent was a United States citizen by birth or naturalization**; and

The child was still under 18 years of age; and

The child was not married; and

The child was the parent’s legitimate child or was legitimated by the parent before

the child’s 16th birthday (Stepchildren or children born out of wedlock who were not legitimated before their 16th birthday do not derive United States citizenship through their parents.); and

If adopted, the child met the requirements of section 101(b)(1)(E) or (F) and has had a full and final adoption; and

The child was residing in the United States in the legal custody of the U.S. citizen parent (this includes joint custody); and

The child was residing in the United States in the physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

If you and your child meet all of these requirements, you may obtain a U.S. passport for the child as evidence of citizenship. If the child needs further evidence of citizenship, you may submit an “Application for Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) to USCIS to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. (Note: a child who meets these requirements before his or her 18th birthday may obtain a passport of Certificate of Citizenship at any time, even after he or she turns 18).

If the child meets the requirements of Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act as a child residing outside the United States, you may submit an “Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322” (Form N-600K).

H&A ASSOCIATES, P.C     John D. Hu, Esq.

CHINA ADD: 4th floor, 2nd annex of Tianyu Garden, 136-142, Linhe Zhong Rd. Guangzhou

(U.S. Consulate General, Guangzhou)

CHINA(020)3885-3100/3122       FAX(020)6282-4077

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