How to Guide for US Citizenship

How does a person who is not born in the United States achieve US citizenship?

We provide articles and links explaining who is eligible to apply to naturalize to become a US citizen as well as the application procedure including an online, self-correcting history and government test.

If one or both of your parents were U.S. citizens at the time you were born abroad or while you were a minor, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth or derived U.S. citizenship as a minor.

Attorney Carl Shusterman worked as an INS Naturalization Attorney where he interviewed thousands of applicants for naturalization and for citizenship through their parents.

You can stay up-to-date with immigration laws and procedures by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter. Also, see our Coronavirus – Immigration Updates page.


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“I would like to thank the team of Carl Shusterman’s Office who took care of my application for naturalization. Everything went well and very fast! Very efficient and professional!”

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To be eligible to naturalize, you must:

  1. Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for 5 years, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen for a minimum of the 3 years.  There are exceptions to this requirement for persons who have honorable service in the U.S. Armed Forces;
  2. Be physically present in the United States for over 50% of the required residency period;
  3. Be a person of good moral character;
  4. Take an oath of loyalty to the United States;
  5. Be able to speak, read and write simple words and phrases in the English language (although there are certain exceptions to this rule); and
  6. Pass a test in US history and government.

Once you become a citizen of the United States, you may sponsor your spouse, parents, sons and daughters as well as your brothers and sisters for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. Some persons may become American citizens at birth, or while they are minors, through their parents or grandparents. This is known as acquiring citizenship through acquisition or derivation. We have posted the government’s 4 US nationality charts on our web site.

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