Frequently Asked Questions & Answers


How can I become a U.S. citizen?


You must have been a permanent resident for at least five years (or for three years if you have been married to a U.S. citizen for those three years) and your residency is currently good standing.

You must be at least 18 years of age by the time of your INS interview.

You have made a home in the U.S. and lived in your state for at least three months.

You have lived in the U.S. for at least 50% of the time during the last five years.

You can speak and understand English at the INS interview.

You can pass the citizenship history, government, reading and writing test.

You have good moral character.

You are willing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

For more information, E-mail Dr. Jess Nieto.

How long will it take to get the interview?


Depends on which INS office. The Fresno office is backed up a year at this time. The Los Angeles office is much quicker--it generally takes less than six months. The Fresno INS office will be receive additional funding for more help and they hope to reduce the wait. Check with the INS office in your area.

What do I need to know to pass the citizenship test?


You must be able to answer questions on U.S. government and history and be able to write a dictated sentence correctly in English.

Where can I take classes?


Local adult schools offer citizenship classes.  Call one in your area.

What will they ask me at the INS interview?


If you have passed the citizenship test and have the official Educational Testing Service results letter with you, the INS interviewer will only ask you personal questions from the application in English. You must be able to understand and answer in English.

Where will my INS interview take place?


At the INS office responsible for your area of residence. If you live in Kern County, you will need to contact the Fresno office.

How can I get a permanent resident card for other family members?


Permanent residents are eligible to petition for a spouse and for unmarried children. U.S. citizens may petition for a spouse, unmarried children over 21 years of age or married children of any age, for brothers and sisters (if you are at least 21 years of age) , and for your parent/s (if you are at least 21 years old).

What is the next step after filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative?


Upon receipt of the Approval Notice, family members of petitioners with permanent residency status must wait until their priority date. A spouse or minor child of a U.S. citizen will immediately be eligible to complete the I-485 Adjustment of Status package (Heritage can help you with this process) and take it to your regional INS office or through the Consulate in the country in which the family member lives.