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Naturalization is a process that allows foreign-born persons to obtain citizenship in the United States. Once granted citizenship, foreign-born persons are granted the right to vote, the right to government jobs, the right to apply for resident status for family members and the freedom to travel with an American passport. Citizenship also provides more rights in petitioning for improved immigration status of certain family members.


There are many eligibility requirements a person must fulfill before they submit an application for naturalization. If you are over 18 years old and want to become a United States citizen, you will probably have to go through the naturalization process. You must fulfill one of the following circumstances to apply for naturalization:

  • You have legal permanent residence status (that is, a “Green Card”) and have lived in the United States for five years.

  • You have asylum and have lived in the United States for four years.

  • You are the spouse of a United States citizen and have lived in the country at least three years.

  • You are a legal permanent resident, have served in the United States military, and have been in the country for three years.

If you qualify, you must prove that you have sufficient knowledge of American history and government and can speak, read, and write in English.

There are a few ways to become a United States citizen without going through naturalization, but most apply only to children. For example, some children born overseas can gain citizenship because their parents are United States citizens. However, there can be issues involved in whether such children can gain citizenship.

Rothfelder Stern Immigration Law Firm in Trenton New Jersey can assist you in determining your eligibility for naturalization and in any application for United States citizenship. 

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