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Becoming a Citizen Through Naturalization

If you were born in the United States or in certain territories of the United States that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction, then at birth you are considered a United States citizen. Moreover, if you were born outside of the United States, it’s possible that you may be a U.S. citizen if one or both of your parents were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth. If you were not born into U.S. citizenship, and you have citizenship in another country, then you may be able to become a United States citizen through naturalization. To become a United States citizen through naturalization, citizens of other countries typically must meet certain requirements as set forth in the federal immigration laws.


  • Your spouse is a United States citizen, you are already a permanent resident, or green card holder, in the United States and you’ve been one for three or more years, and you meet any and all other eligibility requirements.
  • You have served in the United States military, and your service qualifies you for naturalization, and you meet other eligibility requirements.
  • If you are a United States citizen, your child may be eligible for naturalization if they were not born in the United States, they are presently living outside of the United States., and you meet all other requirements.
  • You are a permanent resident of the United States, and you’ve been one for five or more years, and you can meet all other eligibility requirements.


Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who’ve been green card holders for five years or more are the most common when it comes to individuals seeking U.S. citizenship through naturalization. When applying for naturalization as an LPR, you must fulfill certain requirements, including:

  • You must at least be eighteen years old.
  • You must be able to establish that you are an LPR and that you’ve been living in the U.S. continuously for 5 years or more
  • You have been living in the state where you file your application for at least 3 months before you submit your application.
  • You have been physically in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years before you submit your application.
  • You must live in the United States from the time you submit your application until the time you are naturalized.
  • You must have the ability write, speak, and read English, and you must have an understanding and knowledge of U.S. history and government; and
  • You must be of good moral character, honor the Constitution of the United States, and be ready and willing to be involved in the good order and happiness of the country.

Modification or an Exception to a Requirement

If you cannot or think you can’t meet all of these requirements for naturalization, it’s possible that you might be able to qualify for a modification or an exception to a requirement. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) also has the ability to accommodate those with disabilities.


When you are naturalized, because you are a United States citizen, you will enjoy all of the privileges and rights that those who were born in the United States enjoy. These privileges and rights include the right to vote, the right to travel using a U.S. passport, the right to be on a jury, the right to run for certain elective office positions, you can obtain certain federal jobs, you are eligible for certain benefits that aren’t available to non-citizens, you can obtain citizenship for your minor children who were born overseas, and your ability to bring members of your family to the U.S. is increased..

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