If you are not a U.S. citizen at birth, there are still several ways you may gain citizenship at some point after birth. In some circumstances, you may acquire citizenship through your parents before you turn 18. In other cases, you may need to apply for naturalization.
You must meet several requirements to become a citizen through naturalization. According to the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, some of the basic requirements for naturalization include being over 18 years old and being able to communicate in basic English.
Meeting eligibility requirements
Along with the age and communication requirements discussed above, there are some other eligibility conditions you must meet before applying for naturalization. In general, you must have spent at least five years as a permanent resident in the United States, though in some circumstances, the time requirement is only three years. Permanent residency must usually include your continuous physical presence in the country.
Additionally, you must have good moral character and a basic understanding of U.S. civics topics. There may be exceptions to the civics and English communication conditions if you are over a certain age or have some physical or mental impairment.
Applying for naturalization
Once you meet the eligibility requirements for citizenship through naturalization, you must fill out and file an Application for Naturalization form. Part of the application process usually involves taking exams to prove your competency in English communication and knowledge of U.S. civics topics. You may be able to apply for naturalization sooner if you have completed honorable service in the U.S. military or if you are married to a U.S. citizen.