Citizenship & Naturalization

There are three different ways in which a person can acquire U.S. citizenship: (1) by being born in the United States and subject to the U.S. jurisdiction; (2) by being born abroad and having one or both U.S. citizen parent(s); and (3) through naturalization after holding lawful permanent resident status for a certain period of time.

In order to qualify for naturalization, a U.S. lawful permanent resident must meet certain eligibility criteria, including those related to “continuous residence” and “physical presence”. While generally a U.S. lawful permanent resident must reside in the U.S. for at least five years preceding the filing of the application (three years if the applicant is a spouse of a U.S. citizen), the law allows for certain exceptions in the case of individuals working abroad for the United States Government, certain recognized U.S research institutions and public international organizations.

Also, the person must be at least 18 years old at the time of filing, must be of good moral character and must be able to read, write and speak English and have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.