Who Can Apply for US Citizenship?

To be eligible for citizenship, you must:

  • be a permanent resident for at least 5 years (check on your green card where it says, “permanent residence since [date]”). If you are married to a US citizen, you may be eligible to apply after only 3 years.
  • be the child of a US citizen
  • be 18 years or older.
  • have lived continuously in the US for the last 5 years. (If you’ve stayed outside the US for any period of more than six months, or you’ve been out of the US for more than 30 months total, this could be a problem.)
  • be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  • be able to pass the civics portion of the interview.
  • be a person “of good moral character.” For example, you have:
    • paid your taxes
    • been truthful in what you told USCIS (and other government agencies)
    • not broken any laws
    • supported your children

For more information about who can apply for US Citizenship, visit the USCIS website.

If you have had any problems with the police or courts in the US, it is a good idea to check with an immigration attorney before you apply. In certain situations, applying for citizenship could lead to deportation proceedings! Learn more here: Citizenship Red Flags