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Naturalization is the term used for the process by which a person who was not born in the United States and did not acquire citizenship by birth nevertheless becomes a United States citizen.
The decision to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization is an important one and therefore, its a decision that you should take seriously. In most cases, a person who wants to naturalize must first be a permanent resident. Becoming a U.S. Citizen will grant you with many rights which you would not have as a permanent resident.
Basic requirements for naturalization process:
- Be age 18 or older;
- Be a permanent resident for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years but less for some individuals)
- Be a person of good moral character;
- Have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government;
- Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; and
- Be able to read, write, and speak English. There are exceptions to this rule for someone who:
- is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years; or
- is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or
- Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfill these requirements.
You can apply for naturalization process if you are at least 18 years of age and have been a permanent resident of the United States:
- for at least 5 years; or
- For at least 3 years, during the time which you have been and continue to be, married to and living in a marriage relationship with your U.S. citizen spouse; or
- While currently serving honorably in the U.S. military, with at least 1 year of service and you apply for citizenship while in the military, or within 6 months of discharge.
Certain spouses of U.S. citizens, and those who served in the U.S. military during the past war or are serving currently in combat may be able to file for naturalization sooner than stated above.
More Immigration Services
A U.S. Citizen who wishes to marry a non U.S. Citizen or permanent resident can help their fiance obtain permanent residence in different ways.