Naturalization is commonly referred to as the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. People not born in the United States who want to become citizens of the United States must go through a legal process to become naturalized citizens.
“ Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). ”
How is Naturalization Different from Citizenship?
Naturalization is the legal process a non-U.S. citizen undergoes to become a citizen of the United States. A person can become a citizen of the United States through one of the following ways:
- Through the naturalization process
- By deriving citizenship from his or her parent when the parent naturalizes
- By being born in the United States
- By being born to U.S. citizen parents abroad
- What are the General Requirements for Naturalization in the United States?
The person must:
Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
Be a permanent resident (have a “green card”) for at least 5 years.
Have lived within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over their place of residence for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing Form N-400..
Have continuous residence in the United States as a permanent resident for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
Be able to read, write, and speak basic English unless exempt based on age and time as a permanent resident or a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment. See Exceptions and Accommodations.
Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
Be a person of good moral character.
Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.