Citizenship & Naturalization

Citizenship & Naturalization

What is Naturalization?

Naturalization is commonly referred to as the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen.

Who is eligible to Naturalize?

Generally speaking, the following types of candidates are eligible to naturalize (please note this list is not exhaustive):

  • If you are at least 18 years old and have been a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years without leaving the U.S. for trips 6 months or longer.
  • If you are at least 18 years old and are married to a US Citizen and have been a legal permanent resident for at least 3 years. You cannot have any serious criminal history and you must not have left the U.S. for trips of 6 months or longer.
What are the benefits of Naturalization?

The Constitution and laws of the United States give many rights to both citizens and non-citizens living in the United States. However, some rights are only for citizens, such as:

  • Voting. Only U.S. citizens can vote in Federal elections. Most States also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens.
  • Bringing family members to the United States. Citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.
  • Obtaining citizenship for children born abroad. In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
  • Traveling with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport allows you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas.
  • Becoming eligible for Federal jobs. Most jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
  • Becoming an elected official. Many elected offices in this country require U.S. citizenship.
What are my responsibilities when I become a U.S. Citizen?

To become a U.S. citizen you must take the Oath of Allegiance. The oath includes several promises you make when you become a U.S. citizen, including promises to:

  • Give up all prior allegiance to any other nation or sovereignty;
  • Swear allegiance to the United States;
  • Support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States; and
  • Serve the country when required.


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