Becoming a United States Citizen

Becoming a United States Citizen

There are many people in the world who dream of living in the United States. It gives individuals great pride when they are approved for citizenship. In order to become a citizen, foreigners must go through the process of naturalization. Being naturalized allows a person to vote, hold government positions in the country, and more. There is a long process that is broken up into several requirements to become a United States citizen.

Eligibility Requirements

While filing for citizenship, an individual is required to fill out a naturalization form known as N-400. This document allows a foreigner to apply to become a citizen. There are certain requirements one must meet in order to be approved. To file for citizenship, you must be over 18 years old and satisfy one of the following:

  • Had a permanent United States residence for the past 5 years
  • Lived in the United States for 4 years due to asylum
  • Lived in the United States as the spouse of a citizen for 3 years
  • Are a permanent resident and served in the U.S. military for 3 years


One of the first steps in being approved for citizenship is providing evidence of residency within the United States. This requires the applicant to have a permanent residence in the country. Absences are under strict scrutiny during the application process. If an applicant leaves the United States for 6 months or more, it may affect their eligibility for citizenship. Leaving the country may require the applicant to prove they did not abandon their residence while they were away.

Demonstrating Character

A very important part of applying for citizenship is proving that you have good character. Any record of criminal activity may interrupt an application for citizenship. This requires an individual to not be convicted of any crimes that violate community standards. This may include crimes such as:

  • Assault
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Drug crimes

United States Knowledge

In order to become a citizen, the country requires that an individual has knowledge of U.S. History, government, and the English language. This requirement may change depending on the individual. Applicants who are over the age of 50 and have lived in the country for over 20 years are exempt from the language requirement but still must pass the civics test. This is also true for an applicant over the age of 55 who has lived in the country for over 15 years.


If you are approved for citizenship in the United States, you must pledge loyalty to the country. This oath of allegiance takes place during a naturalization ceremony where friends and family come to watch your accomplishment. After this ceremony, you are officially a U.S. citizen.


If you wish to apply for citizenship in the United States and need an effective attorney to guide you through it, contact the Law Office of Christopher T. Howell, Esq. today.

Read Our Latest Blog Posts