Naturalization is the process through which a foreign citizen becomes an American Citizen

Naturalization - Requirements

  • If you want to apply for naturalization you must be at least 18 years old.
  • If applicant received his/her green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, he/she must have Permanent Residence Status (Green Card) for at least three years and still be married to and living with the same U.S. Citizen. Otherwise, the permanent residency requirement is five years.
  • Must have been a resident of the state in which the petition was filed for at least three months.
  • Must be physically present in the U.S. for at least one-half of the five years (one half of the three years for spouse of a Citizen).
  • Must reside continuously within the U.S. while the application for naturalization is being processed.
  • Applicant must not be absent for a period more than one year during the period residence is required (three or five years).
  • The person applying for naturalization must be a person of good moral character.
  • The applicant must be interviewed by the INS.
  • Must speak, understand and write basic English. Some exceptions may apply.
  • Applicant must be willing to serve in the U.S. armed forces or to perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law.

Swearing-in During a Naturalization CeremonySPECIAL NOTE: There are some exceptions to the above rules. It may be possible to obtain waivers or exemptions from the above requirements. Also, often a person may be a U.S. Citizen derivatively based on the citizenship of his or her parent. In such case, the person would not need to apply for naturalization; rather for a certificate of citizenship. Consult an experienced immigration professional about the best route to your citizenship.


A person to whom the naturalization is granted becomes a citizen of the U.S. and, as such, he/she acquires all privileges of U.S. Citizens.

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