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Learn about Citizenship

Ready to Navigate the Application Process?

Before an individual applies for naturalization, he or she must meet a few requirements. Depending on the individual’s situation, there are different requirements that may apply. General requirements for naturalization are below.

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

  • Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.

  • Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply. 

  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400. 

  • Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400. 

  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English. 

  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics). 

  • Be a person of good moral character. 

  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

Important: we encourage you to file online, this will significantly speed up the process.

Gather Supporting Documents

In order to complete your Application for Naturalization (N-400), you must gather (and bring to your interview-see step 3) the following documents, which will vary depending on your situation:

  • Your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Your most recent tax return and W-2 forms
  • Your current and all expired passports.
  • All documents you have about your immigration record.

Additional Required Documents (if applicable)

  • Marriage certificate
  • Proof of your spouse's U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Divorce decree(s)
  • Legal name change document and/or proof of supporting your dependents
  • If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason (except parking tickets), bring a Court Docket from the Criminal Court

You will receive a letter from USCIS with an scheduled date and time for your naturalization interview.

Remember to bring to your appointment the documentation you gathered in step 2 of the process and any letters you receive from USCIS.

Watch the USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test video for more information on the citizenship process!

During your naturalization interview, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Officer will ask you questions about your application and background.

As part of the interview process, you will also take an English and civics test unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver.  The English test has three components: reading, writing, and speaking.  The civics test covers important U.S. history and government topics.  Here are some study tools to help you prepare. 

Visit USAHello to read tips about the interview process.

Earning U.S. citizenship has many benefits for New Americans who have begun building their lives in our community.

Receive a Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance

You may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a ceremony is unavailable, we will mail you a notice with the date, time, and location of your scheduled naturalization ceremony on a Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

If you cannot attend your scheduled naturalization ceremony, return the notice, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, to your local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why you cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Failing to appear more than once for your naturalization ceremony may lead to a denial of your application.

Check in at the Ceremony

After you arrive at the ceremony, check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Please complete your responses to the questionnaire before you arrive.

Return your Permanent Resident Card

You must return your Permanent Resident Card to USCIS when you check in for your naturalization ceremony. This requirement is waived if you provided proof during the naturalization interview that the card has been lost and you have attempted to recover it, or if, because of your military service, you were never granted permanent residence. You will no longer need your Permanent Resident Card because you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

Take the Oath of Allegiance

You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Receive Certificate of Naturalization

Carefully review your Certificate of Naturalization and notify USCIS of any errors before leaving the ceremony. You may use your Certificate of Naturalization as official proof that you are a U.S. citizen.

If you lose your Certificate of Naturalization, you may request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. You may request Form N-565 by calling the USCIS Forms Line (1-800-870-3676) or by downloading the USCIS form. The fee to file this form is $555.

Thank you

Special thanks to USAHello and USCIS for use of their resources.