Obtaining U.S. Citizenship in the United States
U.S. citizenship can be obtained at birth or after birth upon meeting certain requirements.
U.S. Citizenship at Birth or Before Turning 18 Years Old
If you were born in the United States, you are automatically a U.S. citizen at birth. However, if you were born abroad you may also be a U.S. citizen at birth if you had a parent or parents who were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth and meet other requirements. You might also be eligible to derive citizenship from a parent or parents before your 18th birthday.
U.S. Citizenship through Naturalization
If you are not eligible to derive citizenship from your parents at birth or prior to your 18th birthday, you may still qualify to apply for citizenship at any age through the naturalization process if you meet the following requirements:
- You have been a permanent resident (Green Card holder) for at least 5 years, you have been physically present in the U.S. at least 30 months within the 5-year period before applying, you have been residing continuously in the U.S. and have not had extended absences abroad, you can pass an English and U.S. history/civics examination (unless otherwise exempt from this exam), and you are a person of good moral character; OR
- You have been a permanent resident (Green Card holder) for at least 3 years, you have been living in marital union with the same U.S. citizen spouse during such time, you have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months within the 3-year period before applying, you have not had extended absences abroad, you can pass an English and U.S. history/civics examination (unless otherwise exempt from this exam), and you are a person of good moral character.
There are certain exceptions to the physical presence and continuous residence requirement, such as for applicants with a qualifying employment abroad. Certain applicants may also be exempt from the English and/or U.S. history/civics examination. To find out if you qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.