Who Can Apply

Who can apply for citizenship?


To be eligible for citizenship, you must:
  • have been a permanent resident for at least five years (check on your green card where it says, “permanent residence since [date]”). If you are married to a US citizen, you may be eligible to apply after only 3 years.
  • be 18 or older.
  • have lived continuously in the US for the last 5 years. (If you’ve stayed outside the US for any period of more than six months, or you’ve been out of the US for more than 30 months total, this could be a problem.)
  • be able to pass an English and civics test.
  • be a person “of good moral character.” For example, you have:
    • paid your taxes
    • been truthful in what you told USCIS (and other government agencies)
    • not broken any laws
    • supported your children
    • (view more details)

Who should be careful about applying for citizenship?


If you have had any problems with the police or courts in the US, it is a good idea to check with an immigration expert before you apply. In certain situations, applying for citizenship could lead to deportation proceedings! Learn more.