There are two ways to become a citizen:
- Derivative Citizenship-If one of your parents was a US citizen at the time of your birth or if they became a US citizen while you were under 18 years of age, then you might have a claim to citizenship
- Naturalization-After 3 or 5 years of being a Legal Permanent Resident, you can apply for citizenship.
Requirements for Naturalization
- Continuous residence in the US for the last five years (3 years if applying based on marriage to US citizen).
- Physical presence within the U.S. for a total of at least one half of the period of required continuous residence. That is, two and a half years for most applicants and one and a half years for spouses of U.S. citizens.
- The ability to read, write and speak ordinary English unless they are physically unable to do so due to a disability such as being blind or deaf, or suffer from a developmental disability or mental impairment. Those over 50 years old on the date of filing who have lived here for a total of at least 20 years after admission as a permanent resident and those who are over 55 and have been legal permanent residents for at least 15 years are also exempt from this requirement.
- A basic understanding the fundamentals of U.S. history and government.
- Good moral character and an affinity for the principles of the U.S. Constitution. The Government will consider your criminal history, whether you owe the IRS taxes, owe child support, have ever voted in US election and other factors.
- Applicants should be at least 18 years of age at the time of filing. Certain exceptions exist, however, for the children of other permanent residents who are seeking naturalization.