Start the Naturalization Process to Become a United States Citizen

Naturalization is when a non-citizen of the United States becomes a U.S. citizen. Becoming a U.S. citizen can provide many advantages and opportunities and the process can be complex. The information below may help you understand the process before deciding if you want to become a citizen.

Requirements to Qualify for Naturalization

    • You must have been a U.S. permanent resident for at least five years.
    • You must meet all the requirements, including having a physical presence in the United States for at least 30 months.
    • You must pass the U.S. citizenship test and interview.
    • You must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities as an Immigrant

When traveling to the United States from another country, it is important to know your rights and know policies that can affect your stay.

    • All people living in the United States have certain basic rights, regardless of their immigration status. These rights include freedom of speech, of religion, and to privacy, among others.
    • Immigrants must follow federal and local laws.
    • Noncitizens are legally obligated to pay taxes on any income earned in the United States, regardless of their visa type.
    • Most non-citizens living in the United States can be deported if they violate immigration laws.

Prepare Financially

Immigrants wanting to start a new life in the United States must be aware of some of the financial obligations involved.

    • When entering the United States, you must show proof of financial self-sufficiency, such as a bank account with sufficient funds.
    • You may need to obtain a Social Security number.
    • You must apply for an Employment Authorization Document to work in the United States.
    • If applicable, you will need to apply for a driver’s license and insurance.
    • You may need to establish a reliable source of income.

Find Accessible Healthcare in the US

The United States has a variety of healthcare options available for immigrants. The type of healthcare you qualify for may depend on your status within the U.S.

    • All Immigrants to the United States are eligible for emergency medical services, regardless of their immigration status.
    • Non-citizens who are lawfully present in the U.S. may be eligible for health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
    • Qualified non-citizens may also be eligible for Marketplace plan health coverage.
    • Immigrants may also seek healthcare from federally qualified health centers and safety-net clinics.

Familiarize Yourself with US Immigration Laws

It is important to understand the laws and policies regarding immigration in the United States.

    • All non-citizens are encouraged to consult an attorney if they have questions about their immigration status or need legal advice.
    • You must be lawfully present in the United States at all times.
    • Some forms of public assistance may be denied to non-citizens who do not meet specific requirements.
    • Non-citizens must report any changes in their address to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
    • Various criminal offenses can affect non-citizens’ ability to remain in the United States.