Citizenship

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.

Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship through Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills certain requirements.

You may qualify for citizenship through the naturalization process if have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements.

You may qualify for citizenship through the naturalization process if you have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen.

To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must pass the naturalization test. At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and Civics (U.S. Government & History) tests.

English Language Exemptions

You Are Exempt From The English Language Requirement, But Are Still Required To Take The Civics U.S. History Test If You Are:

  • Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years   (commonly referred to as the “50/20” exception).
    OR
  • Age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred to as the “55/15” exception).

AND

  • You may be permitted to take the civics test in your native language, but only if your understanding of spoken English is insufficient to conduct a valid examination in English.

Exception to the Civics U.S. History Test

If you are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization, you will be given special consideration regarding the civics requirement.  You will only have to learn a selected 20 questions out of the 100 provided civics U.S. history questions.

Medical Disability Exceptions to English and Civics

You may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment.

Continuous Residence Exceptions

If you are engaged in certain kinds of overseas employment you may be eligible for an exception to the continuous residence requirement.

Citizenship through Parents

You may already be a U.S. citizen and not need to apply for naturalization if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18.