Naturalization is the process through which a foreign national becomes a U.S. citizen. To do so, the person must meet the requirements described below.
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 (5) years of continuous residence in the U.S. (three (3) years if married to a U.S. citizen);
- An applicant can apply 90 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.
- 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.
- USCIS processing times vary by field office. See https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.