Naturalization is the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. In this section, you will find information on eligibility requirements, the naturalization process and test, how to help your students get information about naturalization by attending an information session, and how to contact USCIS.
Before an individual applies for naturalization, he or she must meet a few requirements. Depending on the individual’s situation, there are different requirements that may apply. General requirements for naturalization are below.
- 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.
In general, the naturalization process includes the following steps:
- Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen.
- Determine your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen.
- Prepare Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Go to the biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, if applicable.
- Complete the interview.
- Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.
- Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
- Understand your rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen.
Please review the USCIS brochure 10 Steps to Naturalization: Understanding the Process of Becoming a U.S. Citizen. For more detailed information on the naturalization process, please visit Citizenship Through Naturalization and Path to U.S. Citizenship or read A Guide to Naturalization.
To learn about incorporating the naturalization process into classroom instruction, please see EL/Civics Online, the free training module for teachers and volunteers.
During the naturalization interview, a USCIS Officer will ask questions about an applicant's Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and background. An applicant will also take an English and civics test unless he or she qualifies for an exemption or waiver. The English test has three components: reading, writing, and speaking. The civics test covers important U.S. history and government topics. See below to learn more about the test and the free study tools available to help your students prepare.
An applicant's ability to speak English will be determined by a USCIS Officer during the eligibility interview on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
An applicant must read aloud one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. The Reading Test Vocabulary List will help your students study for the English reading portion of the naturalization test. The content focuses on civics and history topics.
An applicant must write one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to write in English. The Writing Test Vocabulary List will help your students study for the English writing portion of the naturalization test. The content focuses on civics and history topics.
There are 100 civics questions on the naturalization test. During an applicant's naturalization interview, he or she will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. An applicant must answer correctly six of the 10 questions to pass the civics test.
Your students have two opportunities to take the English and civics tests per application. If they fail any portion of the test during their first interview, they will be retested on the portion of the test that they failed between 60 and 90 days from the date of their initial interview.
For more information on the naturalization test, please visit:
- Study for the Naturalization Test
- Naturalization Test Components
- Scoring Guidelines for the U.S. Naturalization Test
- Applicant Performance on the Naturalization Test
USCIS regularly holds information sessions for the public. These sessions are free of charge and open to the public. Attendees will learn about:
- naturalization eligibility requirements
- the naturalization process
- the naturalization test
- rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship
See the Contact USCIS page to help your students:
- find a USCIS office
- schedule an appointment with USCIS
- call the National Customer Service Center
- check case status
- check processing times
- sign up for case updates
- send an inquiry to USCIS