Community Legal Advocates of New York
Advocating for All Communities


Acquiring U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization

The following information constitutes general information regarding the acquisition of U.S. citizenship through naturalization. Please note that every situation is different and that this information does not encompass all qualifications or materials needed to needed to obtain citizenship through naturalization.

If you have questions about whether you are able to naturalize, or any other questions pertaining to your status in the U.S., contact CLA for an individual evaluation.

Additional information and resources can be found on the USCIS page:

Acquiring U.S. Citizenship through Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which someone applies to be a citizen based on their well-documented, eligible status. There are many requirements pertaining to eligibility. Something of the utmost importance to note: only Lawful Permanent Residents—green card holders—are eligible to apply for naturalization.

How do I apply for naturalization?

To apply for naturalization, you must complete USCIS form N-400, the application for naturalization. Everyone’s situation is different, and you may have special circumstances that apply to your case. Contact CLA for help regarding questions or issues that you may have.

How can I qualify to naturalize?

See the list below containing various qualifications toward becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization. PLEASE NOTE: this list is not exhaustive and does not encompass all of the requirements that you may need to fulfill in order to apply for naturalization.

Basic eligibility requirements:

  • Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder)

  • Continuous residency in the United States for the past 5 years

  • Physically present in the United States for at least 30 months of those 5 years

  • Have lived in the district from which you are applying for citizenship for at least 3 months

  • Read, write and speak basic English

  • Basic knowledge of U.S. History and Government

  • Understand and uphold the values of the U.S. Constitution

  • Good moral character

What happens if my N-400 application is approved?

If your N-400 application—your application to apply for citizenship—is approved, there are few things you must do before you are considered a lawful U.S. Citizen. You must take an Oath at a USCIS-sponsored ceremony and you must return your green card. You will be granted a Certificate of Naturalization by USCIS.

Contact CLA if you would like a consultation regarding your citizenship status or for questions about any other immigration issue.