What is the Naturalization Process in the United States?

There are many reasons as to why people come to the United States on a daily basis. In order to do so, they must obtain a certain status. Over time, foreign individuals within the country often wish to become a citizen. Individuals who are granted citizenship are given certain privileges. This can include the right to vote, running for government offices, and more. The process of becoming a United States citizen can often be long and difficult, but it is extremely rewarding. There are certain steps that must be followed and requirements to meet in order to be considered.


A foreign individual can only be considered for citizenship if they meet certain requirements. They must be 18 years or older and satisfy one of the following:

  • A permanent resident of the United States for the past 5 years
  • A permanent resident and served in the United States military for 3 years
  • Have asylum in the United States for 4 years
  • Lived in the country as a spouse of a United States citizen for 3 years

Proof of Residence

If an applicant meets the necessary requirements for citizenship, they must provide proof of residency within the country. This requires them to not have one absence from the United States for more than one year. If the individual has an absence of six months or more, their application may be disrupted or delayed. In the event that they do leave the country, they may be required to provide proof that they did not abandon their residence.

Demonstrating Character

Part of being considered for citizenship requires the applicant to have “good moral character.” They must be an upstanding member of society that does not engage in any trouble while they are a resident in the country. If an applicant has a criminal record, they may not be able to apply for citizenship. This can include crimes such as assault, murder, rape, robbery, drug crimes, and more.

Knowledge of the Country

Part of being approved for citizenship requires an applicant to have a certain knowledge of United States history. This includes government and the English language. To determine this, applicants must take a test. However, there are exemptions to this. Those over the age of 50 who have lived in the country for over 20 years do not have to take the language test but still must pass a civics test. This is also true for an individual over the age of 55 who has lived in the country for over 15 years.

Approval Process

When an individual is approved for citizenship, they must pledge their loyalty to the country through an oath of allegiance. This takes place during a ceremony in which loved ones can come to watch. Once this is completed, they are officially a United States citizen.

Contact our Firm

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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