How to Become A U.S. Citizen

How to Become A U.S. Citizen

U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization

Requirements for Naturalization

Individuals who have been Legal Permanent Residents 5 years (or 3 years and are spouses of U.S. citizens) may apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization provided they meet the following requirements:

  1. Age
    Applicants for naturalization must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Residence/Physical Presence
    In general, applicants for naturalization must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence and must have resided in the U.S. as permanent residents for a minimum of five years prior to filing, with no single absence from the U.S. of more than one year.Legal permanent residents who are married to U.S. citizens or have served in the armed forces of the U.S. can naturalize in less time. The law requires that an applicant be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the residency period that applies to his or her case.
  3. Loyalty
    The applicant must pledge loyalty to the U.S.
  4. Good Moral Character
    An applicant must show that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the statutory period (typically five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen or one year for Armed Forces expedite) prior to filing for naturalization. Certain criminal convictions or conduct may prevent an applicant from showing that (s)he is a person of good moral character.
  5. English
    Applicants for naturalization must be able to speak, read, write and understand simple words and sentences in the English language. Certain longtime elderly permanent residents and applicants with certain disabilities are exempt from the English language requirement.
  6. History and Government
    Applicants are required to pass a short test on the U.S. history and government.

Acquisition or Derivation

Some individuals may acquire U.S. citizenship through their parents depending on the law in effect when they were born. Usually, at least one parent should be an U.S. citizen, and have lived in the U.S. or its possessions for a specific period. The rules also vary depending on whether the child was born within or outside of the U.S.


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established

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