Naturalization & Citizenship

Naturalization is the process of applying for U.S. citizenship. Some individuals are born outside of the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent and may be unaware that they already are U.S. citizens. Other individuals who have entered the U.S. to work and live permanently and who have their green card may apply to become naturalized after a certain period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a green card holder, how long do I have to wait to file for naturalization?

This depends on how you obtained your green card. If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and otherwise qualify for naturalization, you can apply for naturalization after 3 years from the date you obtained your green card or were admitted to the U.S. in LPR status. On the other hand, if you did not obtain your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and otherwise qualify for naturalization, you must wait 5 years before you can apply.

What are the requirements for naturalization?

Generally, in order for a person to naturalize he or she must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years or older at the time of filing;
  • Be a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 (or 3 years if based on marriage) immediately preceding the date of filing;
  • Have lived in the state where the applicant resides at the time of filing for at least 3 months;
  • Have continuous residence in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident;
  • Be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the 5 (or 3) years prior to filing;
  • Reside continuously within the U.S. from the date of filing until the time of naturalization;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government; and
  • Be a person of good moral character and agree to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

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