Lawyers are ready to help during these stressful times. Schedule your consultation >

Resource Library

Free Online Legal Resources

How do I become a naturalized citizen?

If you are not a US citizen by birth or did not acquire citizenship automatically after birth, you may still be eligible to become a citizen through the normal naturalization process.  If you are are 18 years and older, you use the “Application for Naturalization” (Form N­400) to become naturalized.  If you acquired citizenship from parent(s) while under 18 years of age use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N­600) to document your naturalization.  If you are an adopted child who acquired citizenship from your parent(s) use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child” (Form N­643) to document your naturalization.  

What Are The Prerequisites To Obtaining U.S. Citizenship?

Certain guidelines determine whether or not one is eligible to obtain U.S. citizenship.   They include:

  • Age: applicant must be at least 18 years old;
  • Residency: applicant must be a permanent resident and have resided in the U.S. continuously for the past three years;
  • Good moral character: full disclosure of all facts pertaining to one’s character is necessary, including an applicant’s criminal history;
  • Attachment to the Constitution: a demonstrated commitment to upholding the U.S. Constitution’s principles;
  • Language: the ability to read, write, and speak some English;
  • U.S. Government and History knowledge: passage of the Immigration Test;
  • Taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Who has citizenship by birth?

Persons who are born in the United States are citizens at birth unless they are born to foreign diplomats.

A person who is born abroad to TWO US citizens is a US citizen if both parents were US citizens at his or her birth and at least one parent lived in the US at some point in his or her life.

For those born abroad to only ONE US citizen, if you are born outside the United States after November 14, 1986 and only one of your parents was a citizen at the time of your birth you may qualify for citizenship if: (1) Your citizen parent lived at least 5 years in the US before you were born, and (2) 2 out of 5 of these years were after his or her 14th birthday.

If you were born outside the United State before November 14, 1986 and only one of your parents was a citizen at the time of your birth you will qualify for citizenship if: (1) Your citizen parent lived in the US for at least 10 years before you were born, and 2) 5 out of 10 of these years were after his or her 14th birthday.

What Are Some Of The Responsibilities Of A U.S. Citizen?

Some of the responsibilities of a U.S. citizen include:

  • Participate in jury duty or armed forces if called upon;
  • Pay taxes;
  • Respect the rights of others;
  • Obey the law.

How do most people become U.S. Citizens?

One way in which citizenship may be achieved is by birth in the U.S., or birth to parents who are U.S. citizens.  If neither of these situations applies, one may pursue naturalization: the process that one undergoes in the pursuit of citizenship.  In addition, in 2000, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), which allows any child under the age of 18 who is adopted by a U.S. citizen and immigrates to the United States to acquire immediate citizenship.

Speak to an Experienced Naturalization Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified naturalization lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local naturalization attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

Your Next Step:

Enter your location below to get connected with a qualified Naturalization attorney today.

Search LawInfo's Naturalization Resources

Related Topics In This Section

Naturalization Videos

Naturalization Interview