U.S. citizenship gives a person all the rights that the U.S. has to offer; for example, the right to vote, to petition for family members to immigrate, and to live abroad without losing your right to return.  For these reasons, citizenship is not easily obtained.

To become a U.S. citizen, you must first have a "Green Card" (permanent residence) and then meet other requirements, listed below. There are a few rare exceptions in which a person goes straight from having no U.S. status to getting U.S. citizenship.

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

If you are interested in applying for U.S. citizenship, first make sure that all of the following apply to you:

    • You have lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (with exceptions for spouses of U.S. citizens, and U.S. military personnel);
    • You have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the last five years (with exceptions for spouses of U.S. citizens and U.S. military personnel);
    • You are at least 18 years old;
    • You have good moral character;
    • You are able to speak, read, and write in English (with some exceptions);
    • You are able to pass a test covering U.S. history and government (with some exceptions); and
    • You are willing to take the oath of citizenship.