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How to apply for U.S. citizenship
Learn about the steps to become a U.S. citizen, including applying, sample questions, and the naturalization process. In addition, find information about dual citizenship, how to obtain your U.S. citizenship certificate or replace a lost or stolen citizenship certificate if you were born abroad.
Obtain U.S. citizenship through naturalization
Becoming a citizen by naturalization is the process by which a non-U.S. citizen voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens:
Owe them allegiance to the United States
Right to its protection
Citizenship rights and duties should be exercised
You at least have a permanent resident (green) card for at least five years to become a citizen of the United States. Hold your application for at least three years if you are the spouse of a US citizen.
If your permanent resident card expires within six months of seeking citizenship, you must renew it first.
Your card has run out of validity.
You can apply for naturalization before receiving your new green card. However, you will need to submit a copy of the receipt to receive the I-90 "Replacement of Permanent Resident Card Application".
Be at least eighteen years old when applying and also be able to read, write and speak basic English
Have the good moral character
Complete the 10-step naturalization process, including:
Determine your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen
Complete the N-400 form, naturalization application, and create a free account to submit your paper online
Take the U.S. naturalization test and conduct a personal interview
Take the U.S. Naturalization Test
Citizenship and naturalization certificate
Citizenship and naturalization certificates are proof of your U.S. citizenship.
Obtain a citizenship certificate or naturalization certificate
Replace your citizenship or naturalization certificate
Dual citizenship (or dual nationality) refers to a person's status as a citizen of the United States and another country. A person is not required by US law to choose between two types of citizenship.
If you have nationationilty of another country or region, don't hesitate to get in touch with that nation's or region's embassy or consulate for information:
Compulsory military service
To learn about dual citizenship from another country's perspective, please get in touch with the embassy or consulate of that country.
If you have dual citizenship and want to travel to and from the United States, you must utilise a U.S. passport.
It also provides information about renunciation or loss of U.S. citizenship.
A licensed lawyer who specializes in civic affairs can help you solve problems related to your situation. The local bar association can usually provide sound recommendations.
Citizenship can be established without a birth certificate
If you were born in the United States but do not have a birth certificate on file, you will need to establish your citizenship with the following documents:
A letter from the vital records office in your state of birth, detailing your name and the year your birth certificate was sought.
No record letter from the Office of Life Records. You also need supporting evidence of U.S. citizenship to prove that you were born in the United States.
If you were born outside of the United States and your American parents did not register your birth at a US embassy or consulate, you can apply for a passport, but you must first:
Your parents' names are listed on your international birth certificate.
Proof of your parents' citizenship in the United States
The marriage certificate of your parents
If you are born out of the United States and your parents were born in the United States,registered your birth at the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will be able to help you obtain a consular report of birth abroad (Form FS-240).
U.S. citizenship of a person born abroad or in U.S. territory
If you hold a birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, you are a U.S. citizen.
You were born inside a United States territory and received your birth certificate from that area. If you didn't have a birth certificate for your birthplace, you can prove your citizenship using other papers.
You were born outside of the United States, yet your parents are both citizens of the United States., and your parents recorded your birth at the U.S. embassy or consulate in that country.
If your birth record is before your 18th birthday, the embassy or consulate will issue a document to your parents certifying your U.S. citizenship. This document is called the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA or Form FS-240). Learn how to request a copy, amendment or correction of a consular birth report abroad from the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
If the embassy or consulate has not issued a CRBA and is over 18, learn to obtain a citizenship certificate. These document proves your U.S. citizenship and can be obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Citizenship is the state of rights, privileges, and obligations granted to citizens, but it is defined as the character of an individual who is regarded as a member of society. Although U.S. citizenship provides many rights, it also involves many responsibilities.
According to the Constitution, the U.S. government protects the rights of everyone, regardless of their background, culture, or religion. Although all American citizens enjoy the freedoms, protections, and legal rights promised by the Constitution, citizens also have the responsibility or "citizen duty" to comply with certain social standards and norms.
Citizenship is to ensure that the democratic values written into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are maintained. Responsibilities include both voluntary responsibilities and responsibilities required by law.
Obligations of U.S. Citizens
The law requires certain civic responsibilities that are considered the core of the country’s democratic philosophy. U.S. citizens have to comply with certain mandatory obligations, including:
Observe discipline and law. Every U.S. citizen must abide by federal, state, and local laws and pay fines that may be incurred in violation of the law.
Pay taxes. All citizens have to pay taxes in one form or another, including federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, social security taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes. Every tax funded services and projects—that is, schools, roads, police and firefighting, medical insurance, and national defense—cannot be maintained without the support of the tax.
Although voting is a citizen's right and privilege, it is also an obligation or responsibility. American citizens have a responsibility to participate in their government by registering to vote and voting in elections. By voting, citizens have a say in their government and help ensure that the democratic representative system of the government is maintained.
Citizens should also recognize where help or change is needed, and participate by providing their knowledge and talents to local organizations, committees, and community projects, thereby contributing to the well-being of the community.
Democracy brings diversity, and American citizens have a responsibility to support and protect the rights of others, and to respect differences in opinions, religion, culture, and ethnicity.
Pass it on. It is the responsibility of citizens to pass on the importance of good citizens to future generations. By teaching their children how to stay informed, participate, obey the law, and the need to vote, parents and mentors show how to improve society.