There are numerous benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen, among some of them is one’s ability to help certain family members to immigrate to the U.S., being able to vote in elections, enjoying fewer travel restrictions that some countries have for U.S. citizens, being able to hold certain government jobs that are open only to U.S. citizens, and not being subject to the laws regarding the loss of the lawful permanent resident status.
To qualify for naturalization, you must:
1. Be at least 18 years old.
2. Be a lawful permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for 5 years.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you need to be a lawful permanent resident for only 3 years.
3. Have good moral character.
This means, among other things, not having certain problems with the police or other authorities.
4. Be able to speak, read, and write English at a basic level.
There are exceptions for older people. You do not have to know English if at the time you apply for naturalization:
—You are 55 years or older and have had a green card for 15 years, or
—You are 50 years or older and have had a green card for 20 years.
5. Be able to pass a test on U.S. history and government.
6. Swear that you are loyal to the United States.