Becoming a U.S. Citizen

U.S. Citizenship through Naturalization

     Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident (LPR or “green card” holder)  after meeting the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The most common path to U.S. citizenship through naturalization is being an LPR for at least five years, or, if your LPR status is based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, being an LPR for at least three years.

     To be eligible for naturalization based on being a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old when you submit the application for naturalization;
  • Show you have been a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years;
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years immediately before the date you file for naturalization;
  • Show you have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately before the date you file for naturalization;
  • Show you have lived for at least three months in a state or USCIS district having jurisdiction over your place of residence;
  • Show that you are a person of good moral character and have been a person of good moral character for at least five years immediately before the date you file for naturalization;
  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution;
  • Be able to read, write and speak basic English;
  • Have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States, (civics); and
  • Take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

     To be eligible for naturalization based on being an LPR through marriage to a U.S. citizen, you must:

  • Be at least 18 when you submit the application for naturalization;
  • Show you have been a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for at least three years immediately before the date you for naturalization;
  • Have been living in marital union with your U.S. citizen spouse during the three years immediately before the date you file your application and while USCIS adjudicates your application;
  • Have lived for at least three months in a state or USCIS district having jurisdiction over your place of residence;
  • Have continuous residence in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least three years immediately before the date you file your application;
  • Reside continuously within the U.S. from the date you filed your application until the date you naturalize;
  • Be physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months out of the three years immediately before the date you file your application;
  • Be able to read, write and speak English and have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States (also known as civics); and
  • Be a 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 for at least three years immediately before the date you file your application and until you take the Oath of Allegiance.

Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship

     Acquisition of citizenship is obtained through U.S. citizenship parents either at birth or after birth, but before the age of 18.

     Citizenship Through U.S. Parents

     There are two general ways to obtain citizenship through U.S. citizen parents: at birth, and  after birth but before the age            of 18. Congress has enacted laws that determine how citizenship is conveyed by a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) to children born outside of the United States.

     Who May Qualify for Acquisition of Citizenship

     The law in effect at the time of birth determines whether someone born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) is a U.S. citizen at birth. In general, these laws require that at least one parent was a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. citizen parent had lived in the United States for a certain period of time.

     In addition, children born abroad may also become U.S. citizens after birth.

 Source: https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/citizenship-and-naturalization