If you have already secured your Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card, you may think that you don’t need to take any further steps to secure your position in the United States. While a green card does allow you to stay in the country, you still don’t have all the same rights that a citizen does.
Completing the naturalization process can allow you to become a full-fledged United States citizen as an immigrant. What requirements are there for a permanent resident who wants to naturalize?
You have to live in the United States for at least five years
In order to apply for naturalization, you must first have received your green card and lived in the United States for at least five years as a permanent resident. If you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen, that residency requirement may drop to three years. You also need to be in the jurisdiction where you apply for naturalization for at least three months before you apply.
You have to agree to stay in the United States throughout you are naturalization
While both green card holders and naturalized citizens have the right to travel, those going through the naturalization process may not leave the country until their naturalization is official or risk not completing the process.
You have to demonstrate good moral character
It is important for those who want to become U.S. citizens to avoid criminal activity or involvement with organizations or individuals that could damage their reputation or cause criminal charges.
You will need to pass an English test and a civics test
There is no official requirement for individuals who enter the United States on a visa to learn the language. However, those who wish to become citizens must learn English and be able to pass a test. Additionally, they must also pass a civics test. These tests are some of the final steps in the naturalization process, and once you pass, your citizenship will likely follow shortly thereafter.