Learn the steps for becoming a U.S. citizen including how to apply, sample test questions and what is the naturalization process. Also, find information on dual citizenship, how to get proof of your U.S. citizenship if you were born abroad or replace your lost or stolen citizenship certificate.
Becoming a citizen through naturalization is a process in which a non-U.S. citizen voluntarily becomes an American citizen. U.S. citizens owe their allegiance to the United States and are entitled to its protection and to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens.
If you apply for naturalization less than six months before your Permanent Resident Card expires, or do not apply for naturalization until your card has already expired, you must renew your card.
You can apply for naturalization before you receive your new Green Card, but you’ll need to submit a photocopy of the receipt of your Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, when you receive it.
Dual citizenship (or dual nationality) means a person may be a citizen of the United States and of another country at the same time. U.S. law does not require a person to choose one citizenship or another.
If you were born outside the United States and your U.S. parent(s) did not register your birth at the U.S. Embassy or consulate, you may apply for a U.S. passport, but you will need:
Your foreign birth record showing your parents' names
Evidence of your parent(s) U.S. citizenship
Your parents' marriage certificate
If you were born outside the U.S. and your U.S. parent(s) registered your birth with a U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will be able to help you get a copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240).
U.S. Citizenship for People Born Abroad or in U.S. Territories
You are a U.S. citizen if:
You have a birth certificate issued by a U.S. state or territory. If you were born in a U.S. territory, but do not have a birth certificate issued by that territory, you may be able to verify your citizenship status using other documents.
You were born outside of the U.S. to at least one U.S. citizen parent and your parent(s) recorded your birth with the U.S. Embassy or consulate in that country:
If the Embassy or consulate did not issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and you are 18 years of age or older, learn how to get a Certificate of Citizenship from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instead. This document is proof of your U.S. citizenship.
For an adult immigrant to become a U.S. citizen, he or she must go through the process of naturalization. GENERAL requirements for naturalization call for the immigrant to:
Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400
Be lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States
At the time of the filing the application, have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least for five years OR for at least three years if you meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a United States citizen
Have demonstrated continuous permanent residence
Have demonstrated physical presence
Have lived within the State or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District for at least three months prior to filing
Have demonstrated good moral character
Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
Demonstrate an ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English
Demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civic principles
Take an oath of allegiance to the United States
Receive a Certificate of Naturalization
Share This Page:
Do you need help?
Ask us any question about the U.S. government for free.
We'll get you the answer or tell you where to find it.