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 (born abroad and before the age of 18).
- Apply for naturalization. You may qualify to file for the Naturalization if:
- you are age of 18 or older;
- you have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if filed based on LPR who is married to a U.S. citizen for those 3 years), and be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years (or 18 months for LPR who is married to U.S. citizen) immediately preceding the date of filing the application; [absence from U.S. of MORE THAN SIX MONTHS but less than one year shall break the continuity of such residence unless the applicant shall establish that he did not in fact abandon his residence in the United States during such period. Similarly, an absence for 1 YEAR OR MORE will break your continuous residence unless you have approved Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization]
- you are a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law;
- you have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics) (this can be excepted due to permanent physical or mental impairment);
- you have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
- you have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application.
- you are able to read, write, and speak basic English. There are exceptions to this rule for someone who at the time of filing:
- Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years; or
- Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or
- Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfill these requirements.
(Naturalization application can be filed 90 days before reaching qualifying period of holding a green card (5 year or 3 year). Do your calculation about this 90 days here.
Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, including the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S. so long as all other eligibility requirements are met.