To become a United States citizen is a great honor. Those who are born in the United States have this honor bestowed upon them by virtue of their birth. However, for those who come from other lands the process is a little more involved. This article will help you understand some of the requirements step by step. 


  • Be At Least 18 Years Old
  • Prove Residency Of At Least 5 Years (Green Card)
  • Live At Least 3 Months In The State Where You Applied 
  • Be Physically Present In The U.S. At Least Half Of The Time You Lived Here
  • Be Able To Read And Write In English
  • Have An Understanding Of U.S. Government And History
  • Show Strong Moral Character

Be At Least 18 Years Old

In the United States 18 is considered the age at which one is legally an adult. In order to apply for citizenship one must be at least 18 years old at the time that they apply.

Have Residency Of At Least 5 Years

Have you ever heard someone say that they have a green card? That means that they are allowed to temporarily stay within the borders of the United States so long as they are working and meeting any other conditions set out by the state. An immigration lawyer New York can better help you understand those requirements if you are seeking a green card. Also, an immigration attorney New York can help you with obtaining a green card in the first place.

If you already have a green card through the help of your immigration attorney New York, then you have started the clock on the 5 years of residency that you must prove in order to apply for citizenship. 

3 Months Of Residency In The State From Which You Apply

It is necessary to have at least three months of residency in the state that you are applying from in order to become a U.S. citizen. This is the requirement to establish residency in a state at any rate, so this burden is usually not too big of a problem for most applicants. 

Be Physically Present In The United States At Least Half The Time

Although travel back to one's home country is expected from time to time, one must spend at least fifty percent of their time in the United States in order to become a citizen. An immigration lawyer New York can help you provide proof of this if necessary as you move through your petition. 

Be Able To Read, Write, And Speak English

Americans want those who join our ranks to be able to speak our language. It is a basic principle to joining the country as a citizen. You must be able to speak the language as well as write it to even be considered for citizenship. 

Have A Good Understand Of U.S History And Government

The ironic thing about this requirement is that a lot of native-born Americans cannot pass the test required by those seeking to become citizens. The government and history test given to applicants is very detailed and some would say difficult. It requires that they study up on the history of this country and the way that the government works. Perhaps those who are native to America should have to take this test as well! 

Show Strong Moral Character

The United States only wants to admit those who have strong moral characters. In practice this means not letting in people who have committed crimes. A clean criminal record goes a long way in proving that one deserves to be in this country.