Naturalization and Citizenship: N-400
Becoming a United States citizen is often the ultimate goal of foreign nationals who have made the sacrifices to live and work in America. By taking an oath of commitment to our nation and pledging loyalty to the U.S. Constitution, you can be rewarded with the full rights, freedoms and privileges of a true American. In order to obtain U.S. citizenship through naturalization, foreign citizens of nationals must fulfill certain requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). There are also several available pathways that eligible applicants can complete. These include:
Green Card Holders
Permanent resident green card holders must meet a number of requirements in order to obtain U.S. Citizenship. The requirements are as follows:
• Be 18 or older
• Be a green card holder for at least 5 years
• Lived within the state, or USICS district, for at least 3 months prior to applying
• Continuous residence in the U.S. as a green card holder for at least 5 years
• Physical presence in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the 5 years
• Reside continuously in the U.S. from application to time of naturalization
• Be able to read, write and speak English
• Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government
• Be a person of good moral character and loyal to the principles of the Constitution
Green Card Holders Married to U.S. Citizens
Green card holders who are married to a U.S. citizen can apply for naturalization under different eligibility requirements. These include having been a permanent resident for at least three years, married to the same U.S. citizen spouse during that time, and other residency and physical presence requirements.
Green Card Holders in the Military
U.S. immigration values the selfless commitment of foreign nationals who serve our country in the armed forces. As such, members of the military, as well as their spouses and children, may be eligible for citizenship through an expedited process. This form of naturalization may also be conducted through overseas processing, if necessary.
Citizenship Through Parents
Foreign citizens may also obtain citizenship through their parents through two distinct pathways, one at birth and one after birth but before the age of 18. Children born outside of the U.S. can obtain citizenship if both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of birth, one parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth, and the birthdate is on or after November 14, 1986, or when one parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth and the birthday is before November 14, 1986 but after October 10, 1952. Citizenship through parents can also be awarded before the age of 18 if the child was under age 18 or not yet born on February 27, 2001 to at least one U.S. citizen parent, the child's parents both naturalized before their 18th birthday, or the child was adopted by a U.S. citizen parent.