Naturalization is the process by which foreign citizens may obtain U.S. citizenship. In order for a foreign citizen to be eligible for the naturalization process, they must meet certain requirements. A form N-400 must be filed to apply for Naturalization.
- Individuals may pursue a general path to citizenship if they have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet the general eligibility requirements.
- Individuals that have been a permanent resident for 3 years and that have been living in marital union with the same U.S. citizen spouse during such time may qualify for naturalization if they meet the general eligibility requirements.
- Members and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces may be eligible for naturalization through their military service. Qualifying military service is generally in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and certain components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. The general requirements for naturalization may be diminished or waived for qualifying service members.
- Children may qualify for naturalization if the child’s parent/s are U.S. citizens and the child was born outside the U.S. or if the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.
General Eligibility Requirements*:
- Individual is18 years of age or older
- Individual is a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Individual has lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application
- Individual has continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of the filing the application
- Individual is physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Individual resides continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization
- Individual is able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Individual person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law
* Note that these general eligibility requirements may differ for those with qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and for children of U.S. citizens.
- USCIS – Citizenship Through Naturalization
- USCIS Guide to Naturalization
- Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
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