Naturalization

Naturalization is the process through which a person who was not born in the U.S. voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen.  To do so, the person must meet the requirements described below.

Basic Requirements:

An applicant for naturalization must:

  • be at least 18 years old.
  • have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident;
  • have five years of continuous residence in the U.S. (three years if married to a U.S. citizen);
    • An applicant can apply ninety days in advance of reaching the continuous residence period.
  • have been physically present in the U.S for half of the period of residence;
  • be a person of good moral character;
  • show attachment to U.S. Constitutional principles.
  • demonstrate knowledge of the English language, by reading, writing and speaking English. Note the following exemptions:
    • Applicants that are over 50 years of age and have been residents for 20 years.
    • Applicants that are over 55 years and have been residents for at least 15 years.
    • Applicants that have a physical or developmental disability, or mental impairment.
  • show knowledge of U.S history and civics.
  • take the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S.
Procedure:
  • To naturalize, an application is submitted to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Following receipt, the applicant will appear for a biometrics appointment followed by an interview.  At the interview, a USCIS field officer will administer the U.S. government and English test. Assuming the application is approved, the applicant will appear at a naturalization ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance.  S/he will receive a Certificate of Naturalization to use in obtaining a U.S. passport.
Processing Times:

*First Preference individuals are exempt from the Labor Certification process

**Those who qualify under the “National Interest Waiver” are exempt from the Labor Certification process

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