U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization
A person may derive or acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. Persons who are born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are citizens at birth. Persons who are born in certain territories of the United States also may be citizens at birth.
In addition, persons who are born outside of the United States may be U.S. citizens at birth if one or both parents were U.S. citizens at their time of birth.
Persons who are not U.S. citizens at birth may become U.S. citizens through naturalization. Naturalization is the conferring of U.S. citizenship after birth.
How To Become a Naturalized U.S. Citizen?
Before an individual applies for naturalization, he or she must meet a few requirements. Depending on the individual’s situation, there are different requirements that may apply.
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Application for Naturalization.
- Be a permanent resident (have a Green Card) for at least 5 years (3 years for those married to U.S. citizens).
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply, immediately prior to the date of filing the application.
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years (3 years for those married to U.S. citizens) immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years (at least 18 months out of the 3 years for those married to U.S. citizens) immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Be a person of good moral character.
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
Advantages of Becoming a Naturalized U.S. Citizen
Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions an immigrant can make. Naturalized U.S. citizens share equally in the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizenship offers immigrants the ability to: Vote in federal elections; Travel with a U.S. passport; Run for elective office where citizenship is required; Participate on a jury; Become eligible for federal and certain law enforcement jobs; Obtain certain state and federal benefits not available to noncitizens; Obtain citizenship for minor children born abroad; and Expand and expedite their ability to bring family members to the United States.