Citizenship & naturalization
The INA grants U.S. citizenship at birth, after birth based on parental citizenship, and by naturalization. U.S. citizenship is granted by birth if the individual is born within the United States or certain incorporated territories, or if one or both of the parents of the individual are U.S. citizens, or through a combination of the above as well as residence within the United States.
Most common for immigrants is acquiring U.S. citizenship through application for naturalization. The general minimum requirements for eligibility for such an application are that the applicant:
is at least 18 years old, or older
is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
meets continuous residence and physical presence requirements
possesses good moral character
The application process for naturalization may take from 3 months to 1 year, depending on the complexity of your case. Once the initial naturalization application is submitted and notice of action is received, the applicant will be called in separately to have fingerprints taken. Thereafter, the applicant’s interview is scheduled. Upon completion of the interview stage, the applicant will be scheduled for the oath ceremony and will receive the certificate of naturalization.