Citizenship

Citizenship

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.

Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.

You may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth. Individuals who are born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and individuals born in certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States are citizens at birth. Also, individuals born outside the United States may be citizens at birth if their parent or parents were citizens at the time of birth and other requirements are met.

Additionally, you may become a U.S. citizen after birth either through your parents, known as “derived” or “acquired” citizenship, or by applying for naturalization on your own.

For information about becoming a permanent resident (green card holder) or petitioning for family members, see “Green Card” or “Family” links on the home page.

Citizenship Through Naturalization

Generally, permanent residents (green card holders) age 18 or older who meet all eligibility requirements for naturalization may submit a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. For more information, see the “Citizenship Through Naturalization” link to the left.

Citizenship Through Parents

If eligible, you can “acquire” or “derive” U.S. citizenship through a qualifying U.S. citizen parent(s). For more information, see the “Citizenship Through Parents” link to the left.

The Naturalization Test

Most naturalization applicants are required to take a test on English, and U.S. history and government. We provide resources to help you prepare. For more information, see the “Naturalization Test” link to the left. For study materials, see the “Citizenship & Naturalization Based Resources” link to the right.

Citizenship for Military Members and Dependents

Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents may be eligible for special naturalization provisions. See the “Information for Members of the Military & Their Families” link to the right.