Check the Blog post of a few days ago to see the question that merits this answer.
This can be a tricky question. The key, of course, is the modifier "major." Any document produced that hinders naturalization will be considered "major" in the eyes of the person involved...that includes denials, continuances, etc.
But for the most part we hear about two major steps that have associated documents: the declaration (also called first papers) and the petition (also called second papers). So there you have it: the answer is "two."
But wait, what about the oath that the person signs after the petition is accepted? And what about the certificate...the one that some many people proudly display on walls and in scrapbooks? OK, so the answer might be "three"....or "four."
But there's more! At one point the government required arrival certificates. These were generated by the government, but the consequences of not having one to support the petition could be great. So the answer might be "five."
All right I admit, the question was probably too poorly worded to come up with a specific answer. But it does show the naturalization process to be a bit more complex than we may have originally thought.
Keep you eyes open. In the near future the PGS will be offering a class on the naturalization process and the very documents that I mentioned here (where were they used, what's in them, where do you find them, etc). The classes, as are all of the ones we offer, are free, open to the public, and taught at the Largo Public Library.