How to Get US Citizenship —
Steps in the Process

Once you have a green card, you might be interested in knowing how to get US citizenship. If you've been a lawful, permanent resident of the US for long enough, you can begin the process of becoming a naturalized US citizen, and enjoy all the rights and privileges that come along with citizenship.

Are You Eligible?

The first eligibility requirement for US citizenship is residence. In almost all cases (about 90%), you will have to have been a lawful permanent resident of the US (green card holder) for at least five years. For married green card holders, the required residency time can be reduced to three years, but only under certain conditions (which you can read about here on this site).

To determine your eligibility, you should complete an "Eligibility Worksheet for US Naturalization". It will help you to know if you are eligible now, or when you will become eligible to apply for US citizenship.

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Apply for US Citizenship

If you are eligible, you will have to file an "Application for Naturalization". The correct form to use is N-400. You will need to submit the application with two passport-type photographs and all required documentation, including the processing fee.

Notices from USCIS

After your application for citizenship is received, you will receive a notice from the USCIS telling you when and where to go for fingerprinting. You must do this, and then wait while the FBI completes a background check on you. At this time you may be asked to send additional documentation to the CIS. Send anything that is requested.

Once your application is complete, you will receive a second notice with your interview date and location. The interview includes the US citizenship exam, so you will need to practice for the test before you go.

Once you have a date for your US citizenship interview, you should prepare and go to the interview as directed. You can learn more about the interview and test for US citizenship on this site as well.

Congratulations, You are Now a US Citizen!

If you've followed the above steps on how to get US citizenship, and have successfully prepared for the US citizenship interview and test, you should pass and may be granted citizenship on that same day. Others will need to complete further filing, and still others will receive notice of their success and/or a date for their Oath Ceremony in short time.

The most important factor in applying to become a US citizen is preparation — knowing how to get US citizenship, and then completing each step carefully and completely. The resources you need are all here, and with their help you will soon enjoy the benefits of being a full-fledged citizen of the United States.

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