What are the requirements for citizenship?

There are 9 basic requirements to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization. Read more to see if you qualify!

#1: Be At Least 18 Years Old

You must be at least 18 years old to qualify for U.S. citizenship. Parents are able to apply for naturalization for children under age 18.

#2: Be a Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) for at Least 5 Years

In general, you must be a permanent resident for 5 years to qualify for citizenship. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are married to a U.S. citizen, then you need only 3 years of permanent residency. There are also special provisions for U.S. military.

#3: Meet the Physical Presence Requirement

You must have been physically present in the U.S. for 30 months within the 5-year period before apply for naturalization. For spouses of U.S. citizens, the requirement is 18 months within the 3-year period before applying.

#4: Meet the Continuous Residence Requirement

You must have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date you file your naturalization N-400 application. The requirement is 3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens.

#5: Have Lived at the Same Address for 3 months

You must have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.

#6: Read, Write and Speak Basic English

You will be required to pass an English language test. There are English language exceptions for older applicants.

#7: Have a Basic Understanding of U.S. history and government

You will be required to pass a test on U.S. history and government (civics). The test is 10 questions chosen from a list of 100 civics questions that are publicly available.

#8: Be a Person of Good Moral Character

The good moral character requirement is how the U.S. government determines whether you would make a good and honest U.S. citizen. To establish good moral character, you need to prove that you haven’t committed certain crimes.

#9: Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution

To meet this requirement, you will swear the Oath of Allegiance:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Ready to apply for citizenship? Start your path to citizenship today!

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