According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The requirements for naturalization include:
- Meet the age requirement (18 years of age minimum as a standard)
- Be a green card holder for at least 3-5 years (4 years if granted asylum for a year)
- Declare residency 3 months before applying for citizenship
- Demonstrate “good moral character”
- Ability to read and write basic english
- Have knowledge of US history and civics (test will be administered)
- Pledge allegiance to the United States
It is important to note, there are different requirements if you have served in the military. Also there are other ways to obtain naturalization, which can be found on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
There are also additional requirements that must be met prior to applying for naturalization:
- You must not have taken any international trips for longer than 6 months
- You must not have been convicted of certain crimes
- You must not be found at fault for lying to the government relating to immigration matters or during your initial interview
- Pass the english and history/civics examination that will be administered
- You have to be prepared to serve in the military if drafted to do so
- You will have to be willing to defend the constitution
There are also exceptions to these requirements depending on your age. If you are 65+ and have held your green card for a certain number of years, you may be accountable for less information on the examinations.