Becoming a US Citizen

There are several ways to become a citizen for people who were not born in the United States. The most common way is through a process called naturalization. In order to be eligible, a person must show that they meet the following requirements:

  1. They are at least 18 years of age;
  2. They have been a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years (3 if conditional residency);
  3. Proof they have lived in the US for the last 5 years; and
  4. Show that they are a person of good moral character.

After meeting these requirements, a person must get fingerprinted, attend an immigration interview, and take a written, reading, and oral exam in English. A person can take the exam in their native language if they meet an exception. The first common exception applies if a person is over the age of 50, and has been a legal permanent resident for over 20 years. The second common exception applies to people who are over 55 and have been legal permanent residents for over 15 years. If they pass the exam, they will have their ceremony and be sworn in as a US Citizen.

Acquired Or Derived Citizenship From US Citizen Parent

Some people may already be a US Citizen and not even know. If one or both of you parents are US Citizens, you should speak with an immigration attorney to see whether you are already a Citizen.

Legal Resources

1. USCIS Naturalization Information

2. Citizenship Information

3. ILRC Information

4. Citizenship & Naturalization News