Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national. You may Qualify for Naturalization if:
- You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements.
- You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen.
- You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements. Visit the Military section of our website.
- Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.
Applicants are required to show continuous residence. They can do that by showing they have:
- Resided continuously in the U.S. for five years before applying or
- Resided continuously in the U.S. for three years in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens
“Continuous residence” means that the applicant has maintained residence within the United States for the required period of time shown above.
Extended absences outside of the U.S. may disrupt an applicant’s continuous residence.
- Absences of more than six months but less than one year may disrupt an applicant’s continuous residence unless the applicant can prove otherwise,
- Absences in excess of one year or more may disrupt an applicant’s continuous residence
Applicants are required to show physical presence. They can do that by showing they have:
- Physically present in the U.S. for thirty months within the five-year period before applying, or
- Physically present in the U.S. for eighteen months within the three-year period before applying in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens
In addition, applicants are required to show they have resided for at least three months immediately preceding the filing of Form N-400 in the USCIS district or state where the applicant claims to have residency.
Expeditious Naturalization if you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen who is “regularly stationed abroad”
However, if you are eligible for naturalization under section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because you are married to a U.S. citizen working for certain organizations overseas, you are exempt from establishing the naturalization residency and physical presence requirements. Therefore, you are not required to file Form N-470 but may file N-400 with USCIS.
Qualifying employment abroad means to be under employment contract or orders and to assume the duties of employment in any of following entities or positions:
- Government of the United States (including the U.S. armed forces);
- American institution of research recognized as such by the Attorney General;
- American firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States, or a subsidiary thereof;
- Public international organization in which the United States participates by treaty or statute;
- Authorized to perform the ministerial or priestly functions of a religious denomination having a bona fide organization within the United States; or
- Engaged solely as a missionary by a religious denomination or by an interdenominational mission organization having a bona fide organization within the United States.
Preserving your residency for Naturalization purposes because you have to leave the U.S. for one year or longer for certain employment purposes
If you seek to preserve your continuous residence for naturalization purposes while employed abroad by one of these recognized institutions you must file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes with USCIS.