When you are born somewhere other than the United States but want to become a U.S. citizen, one way to do so is through a process called naturalization. Becoming a citizen through naturalization takes time and patience. However, doing so allows you certain freedoms, and it also gives you the same rights and protections as native-born Americans. 

According to USA.gov, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements to move forward with your pursuit of U.S. citizenship. 

Eligibility requirements 

To pursue U.S. citizenship through naturalization, you must be at least 18 years of age. You also must understand how to communicate in English while speaking and writing. Furthermore, you need to be someone who has “good moral character,” which is somewhat open to interpretation but might mean abstaining from crime, among other harmful behaviors. 

When considering whether you have good moral character, expect the last five years of your life to undergo review. In some cases, incidents that occurred further back in your history may also come into play when assessing your character. 

Additional criteria 

Even if your situation meets the terms outlined above, you still need to hold a Permanent Resident Card (a green card) for at least five years before applying for citizenship. If you are filing for it as the husband or wife of an existing U.S. citizen, you need only wait three years before doing so. 

You also must submit all necessary forms and complete all steps in a 10-step naturalization process, some of which include taking a test and participating in an interview. There are many resources available that may help you study for the test, prepare for the interview and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.