Many immigrants around the world have the dream of starting a new life in the U.S. Most often, immigrants to the U.S. would have to get a green card and become legal permanent residents. Fortunately, there are different ways through which immigrants can get U.S. citizenship.

Who Qualifies for U.S. Citizenship?


Anyone who meets certain requirements can obtain U.S. citizenship. In addition, being a U.S. citizen has tremendous benefits, rights, and privileges. For these reasons, people will make great sacrifices to immigrate to America and apply for citizenship. Although most Americans are born in the U.S., there are other ways of becoming U.S. citizens. You can become a citizen through the following routes:

  1. Citizenship by birth
  2. Citizenship by family
  3. Citizenship by marriage
  4. Naturalization

Each path to obtaining U.S. citizenship has its own set of requirements. You must ensure that you understand and meet the requirements before applying to be a U.S. citizen.

Different types of citizenship in the u.S.

U.S. citizenship can be secured in different ways. You must know which one you qualify for before applying. Here are the common types of citizenship in the U.S:

  1. Citizenship by Birth

According to United States law, automatic citizenship is granted to any person born within the U.S. This also applies to those born in U.S. territories like the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

However, members of a sovereign Native American tribe or children of parents who are foreign diplomats are exempt from this law. This implies that children of diplomats born outside the U.S. can automatically get U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship by birth is the most common way of getting U.S. citizenship because most Americans are born in the U.S. Aside from this, the other paths to U.S. citizenship are meant for foreign nationals.

2. Citizenship by family

You are lucky if your parents are married and live in the U.S. It makes getting U.S. citizenship easier for you. If your parents are married but were not born in the U.S., you can still become a citizen. However, one person among your parents must have been a resident of the U.S. before you were born.

Furthermore, you still have a chance of becoming a U.S. citizen even if only one of your parents is a U.S. citizen. If you want to qualify for this, your parents will have to be married. At the same time, your parents must have been residents of the U.S. for a minimum of five years before giving birth to you.

Additionally, you can still obtain citizenship if your parents are not married. This is possible only if your father was a U.S. citizen when you were born. Your father would also have to provide proof to show that he is your biological father.

3. Marriage

It is possible to get U.S. citizenship if you are married to a U.S. citizen. For this, Form I-130 for an Alien Relative must be submitted. The form establishes a relationship between you and your partner, and you can use it to apply for your green card. Nevertheless, you must prove some facts before obtaining your green card.

Documentation such as your marriage certificate must be tendered. Also, if you live outside of the United States, you will have to wait a while before you can get your visa.

Afterward, the consulate or embassy is required to conduct an interview. Then, you can finally file Form I-485 when you are finally admitted to the U.S. This form will adjust your status.

4. Citizenship by Naturalization

For those born outside of the United States and who wish to become U.S. citizens, naturalization is the process by which they become citizens. Although other options are open to foreign nationals, naturalization is the most common path to citizenship in the U.S.

A permanent resident of the U.S., or a green card holder, is the main requirement needed to apply for naturalization. In addition, to be eligible for this route, you must have been a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years before applying. Aside from these, you must meet other requirements before applying for naturalization.

Form N-400, which can be completed online or on paper, is used to request citizenship through naturalization. You must submit several supporting documents along with your application to demonstrate that you can fulfill the requirements.

You may also need to attend an interview as part of the naturalization process. Finally, you can apply for naturalization as a citizen of the U.S. after becoming a green card holder. However, you must meet all of the requirements for naturalization before applying.

How to Plan on Getting US Citizenship

For some, the dream of becoming a U.S. citizen comes true. However, before applying, you need to know the different ways through which you can gain citizenship. This will let you know whether you are qualified or not. If you meet specific class requirements, you must plan and prepare for the following processes. Here are some general things to keep in mind:

  1. You must be willing to take the oath of allegiance.
  2. You should be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  3. Show knowledge and understanding of the U.S. government and history.
  4. Respect the U.S. Constitution’s principles.


Many people want to get U.S. citizenship to enjoy its privileges and benefits. However, the process is relatively easy if you meet certain requirements. Therefore, ensure you know your status and what is required to be a U.S. citizen before applying.