General Naturalization Requirements
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Residence and Physical Presence
Good Moral Character
Attachment to the Constitution
United States Government and History Knowledge
Oath of Allegiance
Spouses of U.S. Citizens
Veterans of U.S. Armed Forces
Lawful Permanent Residents with Three Years U.S. Military Service
Veterans who have served honorably in any of the periods of armed conflict with hostile foreign forces specified below
must be at least 18 years old.
applicant must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for
permanent residence. Lawfully admitted for permanent residence means
having been legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in
the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration
laws. Individuals who have been lawfully admitted as permanent residents
will be asked to produce an I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card,
as proof of their status.
An applicant is eligible to file if, immediately preceding the filing of the application, he or she:
been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (see preceding section);
· has resided continuously as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to filing with absences from the United States totaling no more than one year;
been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months
out of the previous five years (absences of more than six months but
less than one year break the continuity of residence unless the applicant
can establish that he or she did not abandon his or her residence during
· has resided within a state or district for at least three months
an applicant must show that he or she has been a person of good moral
character for the statutory period (typically five years or three years
if married to a U.S. citizen or one year for Armed Forces expedite)
prior to filing for naturalization. The Service is not limited to the
statutory period in determining whether an applicant has established
good moral character. An applicant is permanently barred from naturalization
if he or she has ever been convicted of murder. An applicant is also
permanently barred from naturalization if he or she has been convicted
of an aggravated felony as defined in section 101(a)(43) of the Act
on or after November 29, 1990. A person also cannot be found to be a
person of good moral character if during the last five years he or she:
· has committed and been convicted of one or more crimes involving moral turpitude
committed and been convicted of 2 or more offenses for which the total
sentence imposed was 5 years or more
· has committed and been convicted of any controlled substance law, except for a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana
· has been confined to a penal institution during the statutory period, as a result of a conviction, for an aggregate period of 180 days or more
committed and been convicted of two or more gambling offenses
· is or has earned his or her principle income from illegal gambling
or has been involved in prostitution or commercialized vice
· is or has been involved in smuggling illegal aliens into the United States
· is or has been a habitual drunkard
· is practicing or has practiced polygamy
· has willfully failed or refused to support dependents
· has given false testimony, under oath, in order to receive a benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
An applicant must disclose all relevant facts to the Service, including his or her entire criminal history, regardless of whether the criminal history disqualifies the applicant under the enumerated provisions.
An applicant must show that he or she is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.
for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak, and understand
words in ordinary usage in the English language. Applicants exempt from
this requirement are those who on
the date of filing:
been residing in the United States
subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at
least 15 years and are over 55
years of age;
been residing in the United States
subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least 20 years and are over 50
years of age; or
· have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn English.
applicant for naturalization must demonstrate
a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history
and of the principles and form of government of the United States. Applicants
exempt from this requirement are those who, on the date of filing, have
a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn U.S. History and
Applicants who have been residing in the U.S. subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least 20 years and are over the age of 65 will be afforded special consideration in satisfying this requirement.
To become a citizen, one must take the oath of allegiance. By doing so, an applicant swears to:
· support the
Constitution and obey the laws
of the U.S.;
· renounce any
foreign allegiance and/or foreign title; and
arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government
of the U.S. when required.
In certain instances, where the applicant establishes that he or she is opposed to any type of service in armed forces based on religious teaching or belief, INS will permit these applicants to take a modified oath.
Read the Oath of Allegiance
Waivers, Exceptions, and Special Cases
Generally, certain lawful permanent residents married
to a U.S. citizen may file for naturalization after residing continuously
in the United States for three years if immediately preceding the filing of the application:
applicant has been married to and living in a valid marital union with
the same U.S. citizen spouse
for all three years;
U.S. spouse has been a citizen for all three years and
meets all physical presence and residence requirements; and
applicant meets all other naturalization requirements.
are also exceptions for lawful permanent residents married to U.S.
citizens stationed or employed abroad. Some lawful permanent residents
may not have to comply with the residence or physical presence requirements
when the U.S. citizen spouse is employed by one of the following:
U.S. Government (including the U.S. Armed Forces);
research institutes recognized by the Attorney General;
U.S. religious organizations;
American firm engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce
of the United States; or
public international organizations involving the United States.
are several ways foreign-born children of U.S. citizens may obtain evidence
U.S. citizen parents of children born abroad may
file a N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship. This form should be completed in accordance with the instructions provided
and should be accompanied by 2 photographs of the child, copies
of any documents that verify eligibility, and the required filing
fee to be considered complete
and ready to process.
note: Children born abroad of U.S. citizen parents derive
citizenship from their parents. The Certificate of Citizenship is
merely a record of citizenship - it does not confer citizenship
on an applicant.
children of citizen parents acquire citizenship. For adopted children, adoptive parents file
an N-643 instead of an N-600. However, adopted children over 18 must
file an N-400.
answers to more specific questions regarding naturalization of children,
please contact your local INS office.
Certain applicants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to file for naturalization based on current or prior U.S. military service. Such applicants should file the N-400 Military Naturalization Packet.
applicant who has served for three years in the U.S. military and who is
a lawful permanent resident is excused from any specific period
of required residence, period of residence in any specific place, or
physical presence within the United States if an application for naturalization
is filed while the applicant is still serving or within six months of
an honorable discharge.
be eligible for these exemptions, an applicant must:
served honorably or separated under honorable conditions;
three years or more of military service;
a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination on
the application; or
good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable.
who file for naturalization more than six months after termination of
three years of service in the U.S. military may count any periods of
honorable service as residence and physical presence in the United States.
An applicant who has served honorably during any of the following periods of conflict is entitled to certain considerations:
War I - 4/16/17 to 11/11/18;
War II - 9/1/39 to 12/31/46;
Conflict - 6/25/50 to 7/1/55;
Conflict - 2/28/61 to 10/15/78;
Desert Shield/ Desert Storm - 8/29/90 to 4/11/91; or
· any other period which the President, by Executive Order, has designated as a period in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with hostile foreign forces.
Applicants who have served during any of the aforementioned conflicts may apply for naturalization based on military service after qualifying serviceand the requirements for specific periods of physical presence in the United States and residence in the United States are waived.