Naturalization is available for individuals who are 18 years of age or over and who have been a U.S. lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years (with the exception of those who are permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen which has a 3 year residency requirement).

In order to qualify for naturalization, a person must have continuously resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years prior to applying for naturalization (3 years if based on marriage to a U.S. citizen). It is important to note that extended periods of stay outside of the U.S. can break this continuous stay. It is highly advised that a person applying for naturalization consult with an attorney to determine whether or not they have satisfied the continuous stay requirement.

An applicant for naturalization must show that they have lived for at least three months in the jurisdiction to which they have applied for naturalization.

At the naturalization testing and interview, the applicant will need to demonstrate their ability to read, write and speak English as well as a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government.


For those individuals who are older and who have been in the U.S. for a specific period of time as permanent residents, there are special programs available that either waive or except the requirements for the naturalization examination and interview.

Naturalization Examination Resources

The naturalization examination consists of four parts: 1) speaking; 2) reading; 3) writing; and 4) civics.

  1. Speaking – In order to pass the speaking exam, the applicant will answer verbal questions and answers with the USCIS officer during the interview. If the applicant can demonstrate comprehension and is able to answer these verbal questions, then they will have demonstrated an ability to speak English. Translators are allowed for certain persons who meet specific exceptions.
  2. Reading – To pass the reading section of the exam, the applicant must read one sentence out of three presented to them by the USCIS officer.
  3. Writing – To pass the writing section of the exam, the applicant will be asked to write one sentence, out of three, in a manner that is understandable to the USCIS officer.
  4. Civics – The civics exam is typically an oral exam. Ten questions will be selected from random out of the 100 questions available in the study materials below. The applicant must answer six questions correctly in order to pass the civics test. once six questions have been answered correctly, the civics exam will not continue to be administered.

Naturalization Study Resources (Please click for access):