An Immigration Law Blog Thing

Generally, to be eligible for naturalization you must:

• Be age 18 or older; and
• Be a permanent resident for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years or 3 years, depending on how you obtained status); and
• Be a person of good moral character; and
• Have a basic knowledge of U.S. government (this, too, can be excepted due to permanent physical or mental impairment); and
• Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; and
• Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

There are exceptions to this rule for someone who at the time of filing:

Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years; or

Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or

Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfill these requirements.

When can I apply for naturalization?

You may be able to apply for naturalization if you are at least 18 years of age and have been a permanent resident of the United
• For at least 5 years; or
• For at least 3 years during which time you have been, and continue to be, married to and living in a marriage relationship with your U.S. citizen husband or wife; or
• Have honorable service in the U.S. military.

Certain spouses of U.S. citizens and/or members of the military may be able to file for naturalization sooner than noted above.

How do I apply for naturalization?

To apply for naturalization, file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. For more information on the naturalization process, please see the USCIS manual, M-476, A Guide to Naturalization. If you are in the military and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, please see our brochure, M-599, Naturalization Information for Military Personnel.

Do I have to be in the United States when I file an N-400 application?

An applicant does not necessarily need to be in the United States when filling Form N-400. Please refer to M-476 for more information about filing from overseas. USCIS has educational materials and resources to help you prepare for the citizenship test (English and Civics portions). Visit the Citizenship and Resource Center at, to find information on how to find English and citizenship preparation classes in your area, learn about free citizenship information sessions offered by USCIS in your area, and download study materials for the English and Civics portions of the citizenship test.

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