Requirements for US Citizenship in 2022!

What are the requirements for obtaining US citizenship?

All naturalization applicants must meet the following requirements in order to become a U.S. citizen (unless they qualify for an exemption or apply based on their U.S. military service):

  • You must be at least the required age (typically, at least 18)
  • Continuously and physically reside in the United States as a green card holder for a set period of time.
  • Establish residency in the state or district of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) where they intend to apply.
  • Have a "moral government.
  • Possess basic spoken and written English skills, as well as knowledge of US history and government.
  • Register for military service (if a male of a certain age) and be prepared to perform civil service when called upon.

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Swear allegiance to the United States:

Each of these requirements will be discussed in greater detail in the sections that follow. Boundless also has a comprehensive guide to US citizenship that will help you understand the entire process. Not sure if you're eligible for citizenship? Begin by determining your eligibility.

Don't worry if all of this sounds complicated and intimidating! We've partnered with RapidVisa to assist you in completing your citizenship application and guiding you through the process. We'll work together to keep you on track with interview preparation, follow-up forms, and any other important milestones along the way.

The Minimum Age

To apply for naturalization, you must be at least 18 years old, unless you are applying based on any period of wartime military service, in which case you can be any age. More information about eligibility and exemptions can be found in our guide to becoming a naturalized citizen.

Physical and continuous presence:

You must have lived in the United States continuously as a green card holder for at least five years (or at least three years if married to a U.S. citizen). "Continuously" means you did not take any trips outside of the United States that lasted six months or longer during the three to five years you must have a green card (plus the extra time while USCIS processes your U.S. citizenship application). In other words, you are permitted to leave the United States as long as you return within six months.

If You Spent181 to 364 Days Abroad

To avoid denial of citizenship, you must persuade the USCIS officer reviewing your application that you did not intend to abandon your permanent residence in the United States while you were abroad (for more than six months but less than one year).

To do so, you'll need to show that you've maintained strong ties to the United States. For example, this evidence could show that you:

If you had to wait five years to apply for citizenship, you will have to wait at least four years and one day when you return from your trip abroad to reapply. If you had to wait three years to apply for citizenship (as the spouse of a US citizen), you'll have to wait at least two years and one day when you return from your trip abroad to reapply.

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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