- Am I 18 years of age or older?
Have I lived with my residency in the U.S. for five years OR three years (if I am married to a U.S. citizen)?
a. Legal Permanent Resident for five years: you must not have left the U.S. for any time longer than six months and you must have been physically present in the country for a total of at least 30 months.
b. Legal Permanent Resident for three years: you must be married to a U.S. citizen who has been a citizen for three years, lived with your spouse for the last three years, not have left the U.S. for any time longer than six months, and you must have been physically present for a total of at least 18 months.
- Am I a person of “good moral character”? Find out what “good moral character” means here.
- Am I ready to take and pass the naturalization exam? The exam includes an in-person interview and test on history and civics of the U.S. and English. Note: You do not have to be ready for the naturalization exam when you submit your application. You can study and prepare for the naturalization exam once you submit your application. There are also special circumstances where people can take the exam in their native language or be completely exempt. Click here to learn more.
Frequently asked questions:
What do I need to apply?
To complete the application, you will have to provide the following information:
- Your legal name, Social Security Number, date of birth, country of birth;
- Where you live, including every address over the past five years;
- Where you work, including address and title, and your employers for the past five years;
- Where you have traveled in the past five years;
- Your marriages and children;
- Your criminal record (if any);
- Your selective service registration (only if you are male);
- Copies of your permanent residency card (both sides), Driver’s license or state I.D., and Social Security Card;
- Supplemental information like evidence of travel, marriage certificates, documents related to your criminal record (if any); and
- Check or money order for $680.00 that is payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Include your Alien Registration Number (A#) on the check or money order. If you are 75 or older, you only pay the $595 application fee.
If you have questions about the naturalization process or what you need to apply,
Where can I find services?
There are naturalization and citizenship service providers across the country that can assist you with the N-400 application and provide access to English or civics classes.
Click here for a comprehensive list of immigration and citizenship legal service providers (Immigration Advocates Network)
Click here to find English or civics classes
Click here for citizenship service providers (ya es hora Campaign)
What is “good moral character”?
“Good moral character” is determined by your criminal record (if any) and your honesty in the application process. Certain crimes or offenses may prolong the citizenship process. If any of the offenses listed below are on your criminal record, it’s recommended that you consult with a lawyer about next steps.
These offenses include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI or DWI);
- Domestic violence;
- Involvement with prostitution;
- Lying to gain immigration benefits or prevent deportation or removal;
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support; and
- Failing to complete any probation, parole, or sentence before applying for naturalization.
What do I need to know about the naturalization exam?
The naturalization exam is the final requirement before you take the oath of citizenship and become a U.S. citizen.
Prior to the exam, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send a notice in the mail advising you of when and where your interview will take place. If you cannot make the interview, you will need to reschedule immediately.
- Bring your Permanent Residency Card, your official photo identification, your original interview appointment letter, and any additional documents requested by USCIS;
- Arrive 15 – 20 minutes before the appointment. Do not be late or skip it altogether; and
- Prepare for the civic and English sections of the exam.**
The interviewer will ask you questions about your background and application, and test your English skills and knowledge of U.S. civics.
During the interview, the officer will:
- Ask to see your identification and place you under oath;
- Ask you questions about your application and background;
- Assess how well you speak and understand English through the whole interview;
- Ask you to read three sentences;
- Ask you to write one of three sentences; and
- Ask you ten civics questions. You must answer 6 correctly to pass.
Based on the information you provide and how well you do in your interview, the officer will grant your application, continue your application, or deny your application.
**There are certain exemptions for the English and Civics exams. Click here to find out if you are eligible for exemption.
Do I qualify for exam exemptions?
There are several exceptions and accommodations that can be made on the naturalization exam for those who qualify.
English language exemptions
You are exempt from satisfying the English language requirement (not the civics exam) if you are:
- 50 years or older at the time of submitting your naturalization application AND have lived as a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 20 years; OR
- 55 years or older at the time of submitting your naturalization application AND have lived as a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 15 years.
Note: If you qualify for any exemptions above you are still required to take the civics test in your native language. To take the test in your language, you are required to bring an interpreter with you to the interview.
If you are 65 years or older and have lived as a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 20 years, you qualify to take a modified version of the civics test.
Call 888-839-8682 to learn more about these modifications.
Medical Disability Exceptions
You may be exempt from satisfying the English language and civics requirements if you have a medical disability that makes it difficult for you to acquire or demonstrate the knowledge required to pass the naturalization exam. This includes: physical, mental, or developmental disabilities.
In order to request this exemption, applicants must complete and file the medical disability waiver (Form N-648).
NALEO Educational Fund operates a national bilingual citizenship hotline, which is headquartered in its Los Angeles offices and staffed year-round by fully-trained operators who can answer questions about the naturalization process and the availability of local resources.
Questions? Call 888-839-8682
Hotline Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. EDT