Citizenship & Naturalization
What is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process by which a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) of the U.S. can become a U.S. citizen.
There are multiple categories with which the citizen candidate can apply for U.S. citizenship, and eligibility requirements for naturalization vary according to the category the candidate is under. To reach the categories and look into their specific requirements, please see Citizenship and Naturalization.
However, there are still common requirements that every candidate must meet to be eligible for naturalization:
Listed requirements with a star symbol (*) means that there are exceptions to them based on military service
- The citizen candidate must be a Green Cardholder
(The time you must spend as a permanent resident in the U.S. varies according to your category)
- The citizen candidate must complete his/her category’s wait time after the Green Card is issued*
- The citizen candidate must be at least 18 years of age
- The citizen candidate must not take trips six months or longer outside of the U.S. during his/her designated wait time before naturalization application
- The citizen candidate must have been residing in the state s/he applies for naturalization at least for 3 months
- The citizen candidate must have a good moral character. To better understand ‘what having a good moral character’ entails, please see this PDF file. (Starting with page 9)
- The citizen candidate must successfully complete the English language test and the civics test.*
(To see the exceptions and accommodations granted for certain individuals on naturalization examinations, please see this link.)
- The citizen candidate must accept to serve in the U.S. when called upon for national duty
- The citizen candidate must be willing to protect the Constitution of the U.S.
What is the cost of naturalization?
The total cost of the naturalization process is fairly affordable. The current filing fee of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is $725. Processing and biometrics services are included in this bill. However, filing fees are revised periodically. To reach the most current fees of the application form, you can use this tool by USCIS.
What is the wait time for naturalization?
The current wait time for all candidates ranges from 1.5 years to 2 years.
Can I reach naturalization test questions?
Yes! USCIS makes the 2008 and 2020 versions of the test available for test-takers. You can reach the details of the versions below:
Will all of the civics questions will be asked during the examination?
No. 10 out of 100 questions of the 2008 civics test, and 20 out of 128 questions of the 2020 civics test are asked to candidates. You may be responsible for either one of the two versions of the test. So, you should prepare and study for both tests before taking the examination.
Can I live outside of the U.S. before applying for naturalization?
Apart from some exceptions for military service members & their relatives, and some minor differences (see the category-specific requirements above), you must have continuously lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years before applying for naturalization. Henceforth, USCIS requires that your primary residency must be in the U.S., not in any other country.
Can I travel outside of the U.S. before applying for naturalization?
Yes. However, your trip outside must not last more than 180 days. Otherwise, USCIS may decide that you have not lived in the U.S. continuously, therefore making you ineligible for naturalization.
Can I apply multiple times for naturalization?
Yes. There is no limit set for the number of times you can apply for naturalization.