Overview on the process of becoming a citizen in US.

citizenship class


By any means being conferred with US citizenship after birth is naturalization. Through the naturalization process a foreign national or citizen may become a US citizen through different ways. A predominance of the evidence burden is on the applicant to establish that the naturalization requirements are met by him/her before starting process of becoming a citizen.

In order to become a US citizen an applicant has to meet the following general requirements:

  1. At the time of filing the naturalization application the applicant should be of18 years of age or older.
  2. To be eligible for naturalization at least for five years the applicant should have been a lawful permanent resident (LPR).How long to become citizen is based on this minimum period.
  3. Immediately prior to the date of application filing and till the time of citizenship admission as an LPR the applicant must have at least five years continuous residence.
  4. Prior to the date of filing the application physical presence for at least 30 months of the five years in the United States is a must for applicant.
  5. For at least three months before the date of filing the application the applicant should have lived within the State or the USCIS district which has jurisdiction over the place of residence of the applicant.
  6. For five years prior to the filing for naturalization till the period of the Oath of Allegiance is administered good moral character should be demonstrated by applicant.
  7. To the US constitution principles the applicant should have a regard and during all relevant periods under the law applicant should be inclined to good order and happiness of the United States.
  8. Knowledge and understanding of US government and history and ability to read, write and speak English with proper understanding of the language is a must for all applicants.

Authorities of legal information

  • Immigration and Nationality Act Part 312 Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (INA 312; 8 CFR 312) explains the educational requirements for naturalization.

  • Immigration and Nationality Act Part 316 Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (INA 316; 8 CFR 316) explains the general requirements for naturalization.

  • Immigration and Nationality Act Part 318 (INA 318) explains the prerequisites to naturalization.

At least 18 years of age an applicant should be generally for naturalization. At the time of filing the naturalization application he/she must also prove that they were lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States. In agreement with all provisions of INA applicable an applicant must have been admitted for permanent residence. If an applicant has obtained LPR status through fraud or mistake or admitted in a way not in agreement with the law then they are not lawfully admitted. USCIS should make sure that the applicant is just in possession of a Permanent Resident Card (PRC) through unlawful means. At the time of filing for at least minimum five years an applicant must have resided continuously in the US. Before reaching the five-year continuous residence period up to 90 days prior the application can be filed by such an applicant.

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