The Path to U.S. Citizenship
Did you know that if you’ve been a Permanent Resident of the United States with a Permanent Resident Card for the five years or more, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship? Or that if you or a loved one is a Permanent Resident over 55, you may take the naturalization test in Spanish? There are many avenues to acquiring U.S. Citizenship. You need to be informed about the path to citizenship and who is eligible to apply for naturalization.
The first step to citizenship is to become a Permanent Resident and receiving a Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card.” There are several ways to apply for Permanent Resident status, which you should check through this Homeland Security website link. The primary options to receive Permanent Resident status are:
If you think you may be eligible for a Green Card, check the specific requirements here.
A Permanent Resident needs at least three to five years of living in the United States before being able to apply for citizenship. You may be eligible for US citizenship if:
- You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements. You may visit the guide Path to Citizenship for detailed information.
- You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen. For more information, you may visit the Naturalization for Spouses of U.S. Citizens.
- If you have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements, you may also be eligible. Visit the guide for Military Personnel for more information.
- Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. Visit the Citizenship Through Parents page for more information.
The naturalization process requires interviews and a U.S. citizenship test in English. To learn all the details about obtaining citizenship through naturalization, please visit this link.
Although the citizenship test is done in English, there are exceptions. Permanent Residents that are 50 years old or older and have lived in the United States for at least 20 years since becoming Permanent Residents, or over 55 years old and have lived in the United States for at least 15 years becoming Permanent Residents are allowed to take the citizenship test in their native language.
There are many ways to become a U.S. citizen. Now might be the right time to explore your options.