Petition for Citizenship
If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
To become a citizen at birth, you must:
- Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR
- had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements
To become a citizen after birth, you must:
- Apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents
For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance.
The Naturalization Test
Most naturalization applicants are required to take a test on:
- Civics (U.S. history and government)
Citizenship for Military Members and Dependents
Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents may be eligible for special naturalization provisions. For more information, visit our Citizenship for Military Personnel & Family Members page.
For information on dual citizenship, visit the US State Department Services Dual Nationality website.
The Value of Citizenship
The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.
Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.
Petition for Alien Relative
Green Card Through Family
Many people get Green Cards (become permanent residents) through family members. You may be eligible to get a Green Card as:
- an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, this includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
- a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category, this includes unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
- a family member of a green card holder, this includes spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder
Green Card Renewing
After a Green Card is Granted
See the following links on this page to find information on the following:
- Voting as a Permanent Resident (The Right to Vote)
A green card is issued to all permanent residents as proof that they are authorized to live and work in the United States. If you are a permanent resident age 18 or older, you are required to have a valid green card in your possession at all times. Current green cards are valid for 10 years, or 2 years in the case of a conditional resident, and must be renewed before the card expires.
A green card can be used to prove employment eligibility in the United States when completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It can also be used to apply for a Social Security Card and a state issued driver’s license. A green card is valid for readmission to the United States after a trip abroad if you do not leave for longer than 1 year. If your trip will last longer than 1 year, a reentry permit is needed.
You have certain rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident. This section will give you a general idea of what these are and provide you with some other useful information related to your immigration status.
You may also wish to read Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, a guide (in English and 10 other languages) containing practical information to help immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, as well as basic civics information that introduces new immigrants to the U.S. system of government (see the links to the right).