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How to Get US Citizenship: A Complete Guide

Obtaining US citizenship is a goal for many immigrants who want to settle in the United States permanently. Citizenship offers numerous advantages, including the right to vote, consular protection, and access to a wide range of opportunities. In this article, we will explore the requirements and process for obtaining US citizenship.

Requirements for citizenship

Before you can start the US citizenship application process, you need to meet certain requirements. Here is an overview of the basic requirements:

  • Legal Permanent Residency: Before you can become a US citizen, you must be a legal permanent resident of the United States. This means that you must obtain a green card, which can be obtained through the appropriate immigration visa. The US visa allows people to enter the United States legally and settle temporarily or permanently. It is important to ensure that you have a valid US visa before beginning the citizenship application process.

  • Age: You can apply for US citizenship if you are of legal age (usually 18 years old) and have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years. However, if you are married to a US citizen, the required residency period is reduced to 3 years.

  • Knowledge of the English language: It is necessary to demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written. There are specific exams that assess the language skills of aspiring citizens.

  • Knowledge of United States History and Government: A basic knowledge of United States history, constitution, and government is required. A specific test is administered to verify said knowledge.

  • Moral character: It is important to demonstrate good moral character and behavior that is respectful of American law. This means that you must not have a criminal record and must abide by local laws.

The Citizenship Application Process

Once the basic requirements are met, it is possible to start the US citizenship application process. The following are the general steps of the process:

  • Completing Form N-400: The first step is to complete Form N-400, also known as the "Application for Naturalization." This form requests personal information, residence information, occupation, and other pertinent details.

  • Payment of fees: After completing the form, it is necessary to pay the citizenship application fees. Currently, the application fee is $725, which includes the processing fee and fingerprints.

  • Submitting the application: Once the form has been completed and the fees paid, it is necessary to submit the application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Be sure to keep a copy of the application and payment receipts for your records.

  • Fingerprint Appointment: After submitting the application, you will receive a notification for an appointment at a USCIS service center to take fingerprints. This is an important step in conducting a criminal background check.

  • Interview and Test: Later, you will receive a summons for an interview at a USCIS office. During the interview, your language skills, knowledge of United States history, and information provided on the application will be verified. In some cases, a medical exam may be required.

  • Pledge of Allegiance: If the interview goes well, you will receive additional notification to attend a Pledge of Allegiance ceremony. During this ceremony, you will take the oath of allegiance to the United States and officially receive your certificate of citizenship.

Wait time and helpful resources

The US citizenship application process can take several months, if not years, depending on the region and the volume of pending applications. It is important to be patient during the process and carefully follow the instructions provided by USCIS. For more information and help during the process, you can use the following resources:

  • The USCIS website provides detailed information on the US citizenship requirements and process.

  • Legal aid centers for immigrants can provide advice and help completing the forms and preparing for the interview.

  • Study guides and online resources are available to help you prepare for the United States history and government test.

  • Local communities can offer support and connections to others going through the US citizenship process.


Obtaining US citizenship can open many doors and offer new opportunities in the life of an immigrant in the United States. By following the requirements and process outlined in this article, you can begin the path to citizenship and become an integral part of American society. Remember to be informed, prepared, and patient throughout the process, and you will soon be able to enjoy the privileges and responsibilities that come with US citizenship.

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