How to Become a US Citizen With a Green Card in 2022

Learn how to apply for citizenship in the United States, as well as sample test questions and what the naturalization process entails. You can also learn about dual citizenship, how to obtain proof of your U.S. citizenship if you were born abroad, and how to replace a lost or stolen citizenship certificate.

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Naturalization leads to U.S. Citizenship

Naturalization is the process by which a non-U.S. citizen becomes an American citizen on their own volition. U.S. citizens:

  • They owe the United States their allegiance
  • Are entitled to its defense
  • Should exercise their civic rights and responsibilities

For becoming a citizen of the United States, you must have the following:

You must have held a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for at least five years, or three years if you are filing as the spouse of a US citizen.

Your card will expire six months after you apply, whichever comes first.

Your credit card has already expired. You have the option of applying for naturalization before receiving your new Green Card. When you receive your Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, you must submit a photocopy of the receipt.

Comply with certain eligibility requirements. To find out if you're eligible, click on the link that most closely matches your situation. Some prerequisites may include:

  • You must be at least 18 years old when you apply for US citizenship.
  • Capable of reading, writing, and speaking basic English
  • Morally upright

Dual Nationality or Citizenship

Dual citizenship (or dual nationality) means that a person can be a citizen of both the United States and another country. A person is not required by law in the United States to choose between two citizenships.

If you are a citizen of another country, you should contact its embassy or consulate for information on its:

  • Laws
  • Policies
  • Military service is obligatory

Contact the embassy or consulate of another country for information on dual nationality from their perspective.

If you have dual citizenship and intend to travel to or from the United States, you must enter and exit the country using a U.S. passport.

Without a Birth Certificate, You Can Apply for Citizenship

If you were born in the United States and your birth certificate is not on file, you will need to provide several documents to prove your citizenship:

A letter from the vital records office in your birth state, including your name and the years they looked for your birth certificate. A letter from the vital records office stating that there is no record. To prove your birth in the United States, you will also need secondary evidence of U.S. citizenship.

You Are a Citizen of the United States if and Only if You Meet the Following Criteria

You were born in a territory of the United States and have a birth certificate from that territory. If you do not have a birth certificate from your birth country, you may be able to demonstrate your citizenship with other documents. You were born outside the United States to at least one US citizen parent, and your parent(s) registered your birth with the US Embassy or consulate in that country.

If your birth was registered before the age of 18, the Embassy or consulate issued your parent(s) a document proving your U.S. citizenship. This is referred to as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA or Form FS-240)

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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