How To Get US Citizenship: An Explanation of the Process and Terminology

When considering how to get US citizenship, an individual must understand the processes involved and how to best approach the situation to receive the desired results. The benefits of becoming a citizen of the U.S. are numerous. For instance, a person can enjoy the right to vote, have the right to run for public office, join the U.S. military, and receive the right to travel and live abroad without losing citizenship status. While at first the process may seem overwhelming, to many the benefits outweigh the possible pitfalls involved in applying for citizenship.

Am I Eligible to Apply?

The first step is to determine whether or not you are eligible for citizenship. The conditions to which you must comply are as follows:

  • You must have permanently resided in the U.S.
  • You must have lived in the U.S for 5 years consecutively in lawful permanent resident status, or for 3 years if you obtained your residency through marriage to a US Citizen (additional exceptions apply to those who have served in the military on active duty as non-citizens).
  • You must prove that you are a person of good moral character (you are not a criminal and uphold the standards or moral character held by the U.S.).
  • You must prove you know English and have an understanding of American history and politics. This knowledge will be assessed upon successful completion of USCIS exam at a scheduled interview.