There are two types of citizens in the United States: natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens.

Natural-born citizens are born in the United States. This is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. You may also acquire citizenship at birth if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen and that parent meets certain residence or physical presence requirements.

Naturalized citizens acquire citizenship as adults through the process of naturalization. To become a naturalized citizen, you must meet certain requirements. The requirements can differ

  • 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.
  • Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Show that you have been 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.
  • 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.

See if you qualify by taking’s free citizenship eligibility quiz. provides do-it-yourself software and lawyer review services to help you properly complete the immigration application process.