If you are from another country but you wish to become a citizen of the United States, you will have to go through a legal process to become “naturalized.” Not everyone is eligible for naturalization, however.
Not only must you be eligible for naturalization, but you must also complete several other steps to become a U.S. citizen. Once you apply for naturalization and complete the other steps, you will turn in your Permanent Resident card and obtain citizenship.
Eligibility requirements for naturalization
According to FindLaw, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible for naturalization:
- You must have good moral character
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be able to speak English as well as understand it
- You must be a permanent resident for 5 years prior to applying for naturalization
- You must reside in the U.S. for five consecutive years before applying for naturalization
Certain exceptions may be available if you have lived outside of the U.S. during the last five years.
Steps to take after qualifying for naturalization
Once you determine that you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen, you will fill out an application, file the application and pay an application fee. Authorities will expect that you stay in the U.S. after you file your application until you receive citizenship. Fingerprinting is also a part of the application process to reduce fraud.
After you submit your application, you will schedule an appointment for an interview and two tests. You must pass an English test and a civics test to obtain citizenship. Upon completion of these steps, you will receive a decision regarding your citizenship.
If you receive citizenship rights, you will take an oath of allegiance and become a full-fledged U.S. citizen.