Path to U.S. Citizenship
This page describes the most common path to U.S. citizenship, which allows a green card holder (permanent resident) of at least 5 years to apply for naturalization. Other paths include:
- Green card holders married to U.S. citizens
- Green card holders in the military and their family
- Citizenship through parents
If you are a green card holder of at least 5 years, you must meet the following requirements in order to apply for naturalization:
- Be 18 or older at the time of filing
- Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application. 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).
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization
- Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law
For More Information about…
- Naturalization requirements listed on this page, please visit the USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance and our A Guide to Naturalization page.
- Exceptions and accommodations to the naturalization requirements please visit the USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance and our Exceptions & Accommodations page.
- How to apply for naturalization, visit our Becoming a U.S. Citizen: An Overview of the Naturalization Process page. Also see our A Guide to Naturalization page.
- Becoming a green card holder or petitioning for family members visit the "Green Card" or "Family" section of our website.