U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization
While some people become U.S. citizens automatically (such as by birth in the United States, or birth abroad to U.S. citizen parents), others must apply for it. The process for this is called “naturalization.” With only a few exceptions, this process is open only to people who have first obtained U.S. lawful permanent residence, or a green card.
Such people must then wait a certain number of years – in most cases, five – and fulfill other requirements concerning residency in the United States, knowledge of U.S. history and government, ability to speak, read, and write English, and more, before applying for or obtaining U.S. citizenship.