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There are many methods of becoming/acquiring U.S. citizenship. Citizenship can be acquired by birth within the United States; USC parent resident or be physically present in the U.S. for certain time period prior to the birth of the child; Adopted Children; or Citizenship by Naturalization. In order to naturalize, the applicant must be 1) Lawful Permanent Resident, 2) 18 years or older (exceptions apply); 3) must meet the continuous-residence and physical-present requirement; 4) meet the good moral character requirement; 5) and demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.


There are many reasons to become a U.S. citizen, but ultimately this decision is personal and optional. To qualify for naturalization, you generally must show the following:

  1. Five years of lawful permanent resident status (three if the you has been living in marital union with a U.S. citizen for the full three years

  2. Good moral character for the past five (or three) years

  3. Continuous presence in the United States for the past five (or three) years

  4. Physical presence in the United States for at least half of the five (or three) years (The naturalization applicant must have been present in the United States for at least 913 days in the last five years, or for 548 day in the last three years if applying based on marriage to a U.S. citizen

  5. Must have resided for at least three months in the state where the application is filed

  6. Must reside continuously in the U.S.  from the date the application is filed until naturalization is complete.

  7. Ability to speak, write, and read the English language

  8. Ability to pass the USCIS history and government test.

  9. Willingness to take an oath of allegiance.

  10. Registration with the Selective Service (Men between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service System)


  • Filing Fee Payment made payable to The Department of Homeland Security (or by credit card using Form G-1450)

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization  

  • Copy of Permanent Resident Card (Form-551)

  • Copy of Passport Biographic Information Page  

  • Copies of Federal Tax Transcripts (3/5 years)

  • Copy of Current Marital Status

  • Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage (if applying based on 3 years marriage)

  • Evidence of Selective Service Registration (for men only)

  • Copy of Military Records (if served in the armed forces)

  • Disposition documents (if any criminal history)

Note: Some applicant may be eligible for exception to the English and civic testing requirement for naturalization due to physical or development disability or mental impairment.

After years of waiting, your journey to citizenship has finally started. But before your head runs off into the clouds, you may need to plan the logistics and consult with an immigration attorney.

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