Frequently Asked Questions about
Requirements for US Citizenship
Q. How can
I become a United States citizen?
and United States immigration
policies person may become a U.S. citizen (1) by birth
or (2) through naturalization.
is born a United States citizen? American citizenship
laws and United States Immigration policies indicate
that in general, people are born U.S. citizens if
they are born in the United States orthey are born
to U.S. citizens:If you were born in the United States
(including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and
the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen
at birth (unless you were born to a foreign diplomat).
Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship.
to American citizenship laws, you are a U.S. citizen
if ALL of the following are true:
- (a) Both your parents were
U.S. citizens when you were born; and
- (b) At least one of your parents
lived in the United States at some point in their
life.Your record of birth abroad, if registered
with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of
your citizenship. You may also apply for a passport
to have your citizenship recognized. If you need
additional proof of your citizenship, you may
file an “Application for Certificate of
Citizenship” (Form N-600) with immigration
naturalization service to get a Certificate of
Citizenship. Call the immigration naturalization
service at 1-800-870-3676 to request a Form N-600
or contact your local citizenship attorney.
American citizenship laws, you are a U.S. citizen
if ALL of the following are true:
Your record of birth abroad,
if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is
proof of your citizenship. You may also apply for
a passport to have your citizenship recognized. If
you need additional proof of your citizenship, you
may file an Application for Certificate of Citizenship
(Form N-600) with immigration naturalization service
to get a Certificate of Citizenship.
- (a) One of your parents was
a U.S. citizen when you were born;
- (b) Your citizen parent lived
at least 5 years in the United States before you
were born; and
- (c) At least 2 of these 5 years
in the United States were after your citizen parent’s
do I become a naturalized citizen? According to
American citizenship laws, the requirements for US
citizenship dictate that if you are not a U.S. citizen
by birth, you may be eligible to become a citizen
through naturalization. People who are 18 years and
older use the Application for Naturalization (Form
N-400) to become naturalized. Children who are deriving
citizenship from naturalized parents use the Application
for a Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600) to become
naturalized. Call the immigration naturalization service
Forms Line at 1-800-870-3676 to request a Form N-600.
does my time as a Permanent Resident begin? According
to American citizenship laws, your time as a Permanent
Resident begins on the date you were granted permanent
resident status. This date is on your Permanent Resident
Card (formerly known as Alien Registration Card).
form do I use to file for naturalization? You
should use an Application for Naturalization (Form
Q. If I
have been convicted of a crime but my record has been
expunged, do I need to indicate that on my application
or tell an USCIS officer? YES. United States immigration
policies and American citizenship laws require that
you ALWAYS be honest with the immigration naturalization
service regarding all:
- convictions (even if they have
been expunged); and
- crimes you have committed for
which you were not arrested or convicted. Even
if you have committed a minor crime, USCIS may
deny your application if you do not tell the USCIS
officer about the incident.
do I file my naturalization application? You should
send your completed Application for Naturalization
(Form N-400) to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.
USCIS provide special accommodations for me if I am
disabled? Some people with disabilities need special
consideration during the naturalization process. USCIS
will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations
in these cases. For example, if you use a wheelchair,
we will make sure your fingerprint location is wheelchair
accessible. If you are hearing impaired and wish to
bring a sign language interpreter to your interview,
you may do so.
can I pay my application fee? According to American
citizenship laws, you must pay your application fee
with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in
U.S. dollars payable to the Immigration and Naturalization
Service.Residents of Guam should make the fee payable
to Treasurer, Guam. Residents of the Virgin Islands
should make the fee payable to Commissioner of Finance
of the Virgin Islands.You must send your fee with
your application. Remember that your application fee
is not refundable even if you withdraw your application
or USCIS denies your case.
long will it take to become naturalized? The time
it takes to be naturalized varies from one local office
to other. In 1997, in many places, it took over 2
years to process an application. The immigration naturalization
service is currently modernizing and improving the
naturalization process. Within the next 2 years, USCIS
would like to decrease the time it takes to become
naturalized to 6 months.
can I be fingerprinted? After USCIS has received
your application, we will notify you of the location
where you should get fingerprinted.
Q How do
I determine the status of my naturalization application?
You may call the immigration naturalization service
Center where you sent your application. However, the
Center’s customer service representatives are
not always able to discuss or explain American citizenship
if I cannot make it to my scheduled interview? It
is very important not to miss your interview. If you
have to miss your interview, you should notify the
office where your interview is scheduled by mail as
soon as possible. In your letter, you should ask to
have your interview rescheduled. Rescheduling an interview
may add several months to the naturalization process,
so try not to change your original interview date.
If you miss your scheduled interview without notifying
USCIS, USCIS will administratively close your case.
Unless you contact USCIS to schedule a new interview
within 1 year after USCIS closes your case, USCIS
will deny your application. United States immigration
policies do not require the USCIS to notify you if
they close your case because you missed your interview.
do I do if my address has changed? If your address
changes, you should call the USCIS Forms Line (1-800-375-5283)
and request an Alien’s Change of Address Card
(Form AR-11). Complete this form and send it back
to USCIS. This form is pre-printed with our address
on it.It is important to make sure USCIS has your
latest address. If USCIS does not have a current address
for you, you may not receive important information.
For example, USCIS may not be able to notify you of
your interview date and time. We also may not be able
to tell you if you need to send or bring additional
documents to your interview.
Q. If USCIS
grants me naturalization, when will I become a citizen?
Pursuant to American citizenship laws, you become
a citizen as soon as you take the Oath of Allegiance
to the United States. In some places, you can choose
to take the Oath the same day as your interview. If
that option is not available or if you prefer a ceremony
at a later date, USCIS will notify you of the ceremony
date with a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony
should I do if I cannot go to my oath ceremony? If
you cannot go to the oath ceremony, you should return
the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form N-445)
that USCIS sent to you. You should send the N-445
back to your local office. Include a letter saying
why you cannot go to the ceremony. Make a copy of
the notice and your letter before you send them to
USCIS. Your local office will reschedule you and send
you a new Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form
N-445) to tell you when your ceremony will be.
can I do if USCIS denies my application? There
is an administrative review process for those who
are denied Naturalization. If you feel that you have
been wrongly denied naturalization, American citizenship
laws authorize you to request a hearing with an immigration
officer to address the issues in your naturalization
case. Your denial letter will explain how to request
a hearing and will include the form you need. The
form for filing an appeal is the Request for Hearing
on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under
Section 336 of the Act (Form N-336).
I reapply for naturalization if USCIS denies my application?
American citizenship laws allow that in general,
you may reapply. If you reapply, you will need to
complete and resubmit a new N-400 and pay the fee
again. You will also need to have your fingerprints
and photographs taken again. If your application is
denied, the denial letter should indicate the American
citizenship law that was violated and the date you
may reapply for citizenship.Pursuant to American citizenship
laws, if you are denied because you failed the English
or civics test, you may reapply for naturalization
as soon as you want. You should reapply whenever you
believe you have learned enough English or civics
to pass the test.
do I do if I have lost my Certificate of Naturalization?
You may get a new Certificate of Naturalization
by submitting an application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship
Document (Form N-565) to USCIS. You may obtain an
N-565 by calling the USCIS Forms Line (1-800-870-3676).
Submit this form with the fee to your local USCIS
office. It may take up to 1 year for you to receive
a new certificate. If you have one, you may use your
passport as evidence of citizenship while you wait
for a replacement certificate.
obtain a new Green Card when USCIS issues a new version
of the card? No, you only need to renew your Permanent
Resident Card when it expires.
Q. If I
am naturalized, is my child a citizen? Usually
if children are Permanent Residents, pursuant to American
citizenship laws, they can derive citizenship from
their naturalized parents. This is true whether the
child is a child by birth or adoption.In accordance
with American citizenship laws, your child is a citizen
if ALL of the following are true:
If you and your child meet
all of these requirements of American citizenship
laws, you may obtain a passport for the child as evidence
of citizenship. If the child needs further evidence
of citizenship, you may submit an Application for
Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600) to USCIS to
obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. (Note: the child
may obtain a passport or Certificate of Citizenship
at any time, even after he or she turns 18.)
- The other parent is also naturalized
- You are the only surviving
parent (if the other parent is dead) OR
- You have legal custody (if
you and the other parent are legally separated
- The child was under 18 when
the parent(s) naturalized;
- The child was not married when
the parent(s) naturalized; and
- The child was a Permanent Resident
before his or her 18th birthday.
Q. If I
am naturalized but the above situation does not apply
to me or my child, how can I apply for citizenship
for my child?In many cases, citizens may apply
for citizenship for their children:If both parents
are alive and still married to each other, but only
one parent is a citizen, you may apply for citizenship
for your child using an Application for Certificate
of Citizenship (Form N-600). However, American citizenship
laws on this topic are complex and the advice and
legal representation of a citizenship attorney is