How to Become a U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization

You may apply for naturalization when you meet all of the following requirements to become a U.S. citizen:

  1. You are at least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces);
  2. You are a permanent resident of the United States for a required period of time. This is normally 5 years; however, if your spouse is a US citizen, the period of time is 3 years. Either way, the application may be filed 90 days early;
  3. You have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing;
  4. You have demonstrated physical presence within the United States for a required period of time;
  5. You have demonstrated continuous residence for a required period of time;
  6. You demonstrate good moral character;
  7. You demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution;
  8. You demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as “civics”) as well as an ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English; and
  9. You take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Some applicants may be eligible for a modified oath.

Exemptions From the English Language Test

You are not required to take the English language test if:

  1. At the time of filing your Form N-400, you are 50 years of age or older and have lived in the United States as a permanent resident for periods totaling at least 20 years. You do not have to take the English language test, but you do have to take the civics test in the language of your choice.
  2. At the time of filing your Form N-400, you are 55 years of age or older and have lived in the United States as a permanent resident for periods totaling at least 15 years. You do not have to take the English language test, but you do have to take the civics test in the language of your choice.
  3. At the time of filing your Form N-400, you are 65 years of age or older and have lived in the United States as a permanent resident for periods totaling at least 20 years. You do not have to take the English language test, but you do have to take the civics test in the language of your choice.

Medical Exception to the English Language and/or Civics Test

You may be eligible for an exception to the English language and/or civics tests due to a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, 12 months or more.

Children

A child born outside of the US where one or both parents are US citizens may acquire citizenship at birth. One must look at the naturalization laws at the time the child was born to determine the requirements. for citizenship acquisition Here is a link to the Derivative Citizenship requirements: www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Appendix-Nationality3.html

Naturalization of parents: If all of the following requirements are met, a child will automatically become a citizen of the US when :

  1. One parent is a US citizen by birth or naturalization
  2. The child was under 18 at the time of the parent’s naturalization
  3. The child is residing in the US pursuant to Lawful Permanent Resident status
  4. The child is residing in the US in the physical and legal custody of the US citien parent