Become A U.S Citizen Via Naturalization

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Become A U.S Citizen Via Naturalization

What is Naturalization?

Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. If certain requirements are met, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.

Who is eligible for naturalization, and when can they apply?

Eligibility for naturalization is dependent upon the following:

  • How long you’ve had your green card
  • How long you’ve been physically residing in the United States
  • Whether you’ve served in the U.S. military (and if so, whether your service was during “peacetime” or “wartime”

To meet naturalization requirements, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time you file the application;
  • Have been a lawful permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on which naturalization category you are applying under);
  • Have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
  • Demonstrate good moral character;
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • Demonstrate a loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
  • Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance

You are a:

And you’ve been physically residing in the U.S for at least*:

You may apply for naturalization:

Green card holder with no special circumstances

2.5 years (30 months)

After 5 years

Green card holder who is married to a U.S citizen

1.5 years (18 months)

After 3 years

Widow or widower of a who died whilst honorably serving in the military *



Green card holder with a minimum of one year of peacetime military service


While in active duty or within 6 months of honorably separating from the military**

Green card holder with less than one year of peacetime military service

30 months (2.5 years)

After 5 years

Green card holder with at least 1 year of peacetime military service and honorably discharged more than 6 months ago**

2.5 years (30 months)

After 5 years

Member of the military with any period of wartime service (with or without a green card)



* Consecutive or otherwise; any period of military service is equivalent to having physically lived in the United States.

** A discharge designated “General-Under Honorable Conditions” is considered “honorable” discharge.

90-day early-filing rule: You may submit your N-400 to USCIS as early as 90 days before reaching your three- or five-year wait period as a green card holder — provided all other eligibility requirements have been met. Filing early just allows you to get a head start on the application process: you must still wait the full 3 or 5 years to become a U.S. citizen.

Exceptions On The Basis Of Age/Disability:

If the applicant is:

Are they exempt from the English test?

Are they exempt from the civics test?

Aged 50 and older and have lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for at least 20 years         



Aged 55 and older and have lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for at least 15 years         



Aged 65 and older and have lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for at least 20 years         



Disabled, and those disabilities are expected to last more than 12 months

Yes (with approved waiver)

Yes (with approved waiver)

*Applicants aged 65 and older will only have to 20 of the 100 usual questions that most applicants must prepare for. They’ll be asked 10 of 20 questions, but only need to answer 6 correctly to pass.

How To Apply For Naturalization?

Step 1: Applying For Naturalization

Your journey to U.S citizenship begins with filing an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) and paying the filing fee (unless you are exempted). You may fill out and mail a paper application or complete the application online. To file online, you must first create an online account with U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS).

You cannot apply online if you’re applying based on your military service, from abroad, or for a fee reduction or waiver. It must be mailed to the appropriate USCIS office.

Step 2: Biometrics Appointment

Next up is your biometrics appointment — getting your fingerprints taken — at your local USCIS field office. The USCIS will then run a background check. The appointment usually occurs about a month after USCIS receives your U.S. citizenship application.

Step 3: Citizenship Interview and Exam

You can expect your citizenship interview to take place around 14 months after filing your application. Exactly how long it will take to process your naturalization application, however, depends heavily on the USCIS field office handling your case, which is determined by your zip code.

During this interview, a USCIS officer will want to reaffirm. that all of the information on your naturalization application is correct. The interview will likely be held at the nearest USCIS office. If you are applying from abroad, you will attend the interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are in active military duty, your interview may be held at a military facility.

Step 4: Oath of Allegiance

You’re nearly there! Soon you’ll be a bonafide U.S. citizen.

Once your application is approved, you will attend an Oath of Allegiance ceremony. This is an important — and exciting — step. You cannot become a U.S. citizen unless you’ve taken the Oath Of Allegiance.

After your citizenship interview, you’ll receive a notice in the mail with the date, time, and location of the ceremony (usually a local courthouse or USCIS office). The time it takes to schedule the ceremony is dependent on the state you’re in. After the ceremony has taken place, you’ll turn in your green card and receive a Certificate of Naturalization!

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