Naturalization Overview

Natz1Are you eligible to apply for naturalization?

Before you apply for naturalization, you must meet a few requirements. Depending on your situation, there are different requirements that may apply to you. However, generally, an applicant for naturalization must:

• Be 18 years old or older at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

• Be a lawful permanent resident (have a “green card”).
• Demonstrate continuous permanent residence in the United States for at least 5 years. (In some cases, this may be 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen.)
• Show that you have been physically present in the United States for 30 months. (In some cases, this may be 18 months if you are married to a U.S. citizen.)
• Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state
or USCIS district where you claim residence.
Before applying for naturalization please keep in mind that
if you have a parent that was a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization, before you turned 18 years old, you may have a claim to citizenship. The form to file a claim to U.S. citizenship is Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

These are general guidelines that do not apply to every applicant. For more information on these requirements, please visit our other pages for more information


Can you speak, read, and write basic English and do you have an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics)?

During your interview, a USCIS Officer will test your ability to read, write, and speak English and your knowledge of civics.
Many times the reason applicants fail the naturalization test is that they cannot answer the interview questions in English. To find English and/or citizenship classes where you live, visit or contact your local community college or adult education program. You should be prepared for the English portion of your naturalization test when you submit your application. At your naturalization interview, you will also be tested on your knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics).

Natz3Do you support the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution and are you willing to swear an oath to the United States?

You must be willing to support and defend the United States and its Constitution. You declare your “attachment” or loyalty to the United States and the Constitution when you take the Oath of Allegiance at your naturalization ceremony. You become a U.S. citizen after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

Marriage2Have you ever been married, divorced, widowed, or had your name legally changed?

If yes, bring a copy of your marriage certificate, your divorce or annulment decree, or the death certificate of your former spouse. If you changed your name through a court, bring a copy of the court decree that legally changed your name. Also, if your current spouse was married before, bring evidence of the termination of your spouse’s prior marriage(s). Failing to show proof of your current marital status or legal name may delay your case.

ICE3Have you EVER been arrested, detained, or cited by the police or any other law enforcement officer?

If yes, bring documents that show the court disposition of the case to your interview. These documents show the final outcome of the case and are required for all arrests and detentions, including expunged records and plea bargains. If you were put on probation,
bring evidence that you completed your probation. Failing to provide original or certified copies of court disposition documents could delay your case. Please note that uncertified photocopies are not acceptable.

iStock_000018164382_SmallHave you traveled outside the United States since becoming a permanent resident?

If yes, you need to show all foreign travel from the date you became a permanent resident. Even if you have not traveled outside the United States since becoming a permanent resident, you should bring
all of your valid and expired passports and any travel documents issued by USCIS to your naturalization interview. If you do not bring your passport(s) and other documents to your interview, your case could be delayed.

USAFAre you a man between the ages of 18 and 26?

If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 26, you must register for the Selective Service and provide proof of your registration to USCIS. If you are 26 or older but under the age of 31, you must provide proof that you registered with the Selective Service when you were required to do so. If you were required to register and did not, you must bring to your interview both a written statement explaining why you did not register and a letter from the Selective Service System indicating your status. For more information about Selective Service registration or how to get proof that you registered, visit or call 1-888-655-1825.

struggling to pay billsHave you reported your income on your income tax forms?

Your tax returns are very important proof that you are eligible for naturalization. On the day of your interview, bring certified tax returns for the last 5 years (3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen). Certified tax transcripts may be ordered by using Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 4506-T available at or calling 1-800-829-1040.

ResearcherAre you eligible for a disability waiver or age-based exemption?

You may not need to take the English and civics portions of the naturalization test if you have a medical disability that prevents you from demonstrating knowledge of English or civics. To apply for this exemption, your doctor must complete Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. The best time to submit this form is with your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You are allowed to bring Form N-648 to your interview, but this may delay your case.

Some people who apply for naturalization may not have to meet the English requirement because of their age and the length of time they have lived in the United States as a permanent resident.

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