With the exception of those individuals who can obtain U.S. citizenship by birth or through their parents, to become a U.S. citizen through the process known as Naturalization, you must first have a green card (permanent residence) and then meet other requirements. To be eligible for U.S. Citizenship, the following requirements must be met:

  • lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (with exceptions for refugees, people who get their green card through asylum, spouses of U.S. citizens, and U.S. military personnel)
  • physically present in the United States for at least half of the last five years
  • lived in the district or state where you are filing your application for at least three months
  • did not spend more than a year outside the United States
  • have not made your primary home in another country
  • at least 18 years old
  • have good moral character
  • able to speak, read, and write in English
  • able to pass a test covering U.S. history and government (based on questions provided by USCIS), and
  • willing to swear that you believe in the principles of the U.S. Constitution and will be loyal to the United States.

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