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How do you obtain citizenship through naturalization?

The dream for many people who consider the United States of America their home is to one day pledge allegiance to the flag and obtain U.S. citizenship. In order to make this dream a reality, there are many requirements that the individual must meet. Once these requirements are met, they can take a naturalization test -- if they don't already qualify for U.S. citizenship in some other way -- which can earn them U.S. citizenship.

But how do you apply for citizenship through naturalization? What goes on once you apply?

Applying for citizenship through naturalization is simple enough, on its face. You just have to file Form N-400 and pass a naturalization test. However, there is much more to it than that.

In order to even apply with Form N-400, an applicant usually needs to meet the following requirements:

  • The applicant has to be at least 18 years old
  • Depending on the circumstances of your arrival and status in the U.S., the applicant must have been a permanent resident for 3 to 5 years
  • The applicant must know some basic functionality and facts about the U.S. government
  • The applicant must speak English (though there are some caveats to this rule)
  • The applicant must be of good moral character

If you meet these requirements, your application is accepted and you pass the naturalization test, you can become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process. Citizenship can be obtained through other means -- such as military service -- but this is a very common route.

Source: USCIS, "Citizenship Through Naturalization," Accessed Aug. 4, 2014

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