Navigation Bar Grades K-2 Grades 3-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12 Parents and Teachers Home

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

The Statue of LibertyThe process by which people from foreign countries become U.S. citizens is called naturalization. There are three steps in this process:

  1. File an application. The application asks for biographical information about the person. The person has his or her fingerprints taken, and provides photographs and legal documents.
  2. Take a naturalization examination. The examination tests the applicant’s knowledge of U.S. government and history. The applicant must also pass an English test.
  3. Appear for a court hearing. The applicant appears before a judge and asks to become a U.S. citizen. The judge will listen to the applicant’s reasons and will decide on naturalization.

To become a citizen, or to be naturalized, a person must meet certain requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years
  • Be of good moral character and loyal to the U.S.
  • Be able to read, write, speak and understand basic English
  • Have basic knowledge and understanding of the history, government structure and the Constitution of the U.S.
  • Be willing to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S.
To learn more, choose from the following:

Related links