Naturalization is a process that allows foreign-born persons to obtain citizenship in the United States. Once granted citizenship, foreign-born persons are granted all of the rights American born persons have, for example the right to vote, the right to governmental jobs and the freedom to travel with an American passport which provides entry without a visa into many countries. A key benefit a naturalization applicant will derive once granted citizenship is the ability to petition for an immediate family member through a faster petitioning process. There are many eligibility requirements a person must fulfill before they submit an application for naturalization.
Who Is Eligible
In most situations, a person is eligible to apply for Naturalization, if they meet the following requirements:
- Applicant has been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years for spouses of United States Citizens)
- Applicant is 18 years old
- Applicant is of good moral character
- Applicant can speak, read, and write English
- Applicant must pass a test on U.S. history and government
- Applicant was physically present in the U.S. at least half the requisite time
- Applicant has maintained lawful permanent residence continuously
- Applicant swears loyalty to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance
Note: minor children of U.S. naturalization applicants may also be eligible and included in a naturalization application, under certain circumstances.