Learn About Naturalization

Naturalization is the way that a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. Are you thinking about applying (PDF, 627 KB) for naturalization? Learn about the general 10 steps to naturalization (PDF, 642 KB). USCIS has also developed responses to several frequently asked questions related to the naturalization process.

Before you apply, you must meet a few requirements. Depending on your situation, different requirements may apply to you. 

General Eligibility Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

  • Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.

  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately before the date you file 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 before the date you file Form N-400.

  • Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply. Students may apply for naturalization either where they go to school or where their family lives (if they are still financially dependent on their parents).

  • Be a person of good moral character.

  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

  • Take an oath of allegiance to the United States.

See the graphic below for a visual outline of the general requirements for naturalization.

general eligibility requirements pathway graphic

For more detailed information on the naturalization process, please visit Citizenship Through Naturalization and the Path to U.S. Citizenship.

Certain applicants, because of their age and time as a permanent resident, do not have to take the English test for naturalization and may take the civics test in the language of their choice. For more information, see the exceptions and accommodations page on our website.

Additional Resources