The ways to become a US citizen include citizenship through parents and citizenship by naturalization. The paths to US citizenship via naturalization include naturalization through green card, marriage, or the United States military.

Ways to Become a US Citizen

A person may be eligible to become a US citizenship if he or she falls under on the following.

  • Child of US citizen parents
  • Green card holder
  • Green card holder married to a US citizen
  • Green card holder and member of the United States Armed Forces

Child of US Citizen Parents

One of the ways to become a US citizen is through your parents. In addition to citizenship by birth, children of US citizens are eligible to become US citizens if they are under the age of 18 and fall under one of the following.

  • Legal US permanent resident in the physical custody of a US citizen parent(s);
  • Child residing abroad of a US citizen parent who meets specific physical presence requirements in the United States; or
  • Child of an active member of the United States military.

Green Card Holder

Another way to become a US citizen is through naturalization. Green card holders may be eligible to apply for naturalization if they have been residing in the United States for five years or more. Eligible green card holders:

  • Are at least 18 years old;
  • Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years;
  • Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months prior to application;
  • Are a person of good moral character;
  • Are able to speak, read, write, and understand the English language;
  • Have knowledge of United States government, history, and civics; and
  • Are willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Green Card Holder Married to a US Citizen

Green card holders may obtain US citizenship after three years of residing in the US if they are married to a US citizen who has been a citizen for at least three years prior to the green card holder filing his or her naturalization application. Green card holders married to a US citizen must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be a green card holder for a minimum of three years prior to the date of filing your application;
  • Be physically present within the United States for a minimum of 18 months during the past three years;
  • Have been married and living with their US citizen spouse who has been a citizen for at least three years before the green card holder files his or her application;
  • Have lived continuously for at least three months prior to the date of application within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence;
  • Maintain continuous residence in the United States during the period of application to the time of becoming a United States Citizen, and;
  • Be able to speak, read, write, and understand the English language;
  • Have basic US government, history, and civics knowledge; and
  • Be a person of good moral character.

Spouses of US citizens living abroad are also eligible for US citizenship under the Immigration and Naturalization Act: Section 319(b) if their US citizen spouse is employed by the US government, including the military, or other qualifying employer, and is scheduled to be stationed abroad in such employment for at least 1 year at the time of filing.

US Armed Forces Member

Current members and some veterans of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the National Guard may be eligible for US citizenship. Military members who are eligible for US citizenship are exempt from the normal citizenship requirements, but must:

  • Be of good moral character;
  • Have basic US government, history, and civics knowledge;
  • Be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language; and
  • Have an attachment to the United States by taking the Oath of Allegiance.

For more information about the eligibility for each of the ways to become a US citizen, visit US Naturalization Requirements.