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When can I apply for citizenship?

To be eligible for naturalization, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;

  • Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. Citizen);

  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. Citizen and cohabitating) immediately before you apply for naturalization;

  • Show you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the five years (or 18 months years if married to a U.S. Citizen) immediately before you apply for naturalization;

  • Show that you are a person of good moral character and have been a person of good moral character for at least five years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. Citizen) immediately before you apply for naturalization;

  • Be able to read, write and speak basic English;

  • Have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States, (civics); and

  • Take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

Because my Green Card allows me to travel between the United States and my home country, can I live in both places until I am ready to apply for citizenship?

To qualify for citizenship, generally applicants must demonstrate they have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years (or 3 years if the applicant is married to a U.S. citizen).

You may travel to another country, including your home country, for less than 180 days at a time.


Can I legally change my name while my naturalization application is pending?

Yes. You can legally change your name after filing your application for naturalization with USCIS. In that case, you must provide USCIS with the document(s) that legally changed your name and bring them to your interview.

You can also legally change your name when you naturalize by filling the specific field on Form N-400.


What should I know about the citizenship interview?

The citizenship interview has three main parts:

  • The civics test, where the immigration officer asks 10 out of the list of 100 civics questions;

  • The reading and writing tests, where you must read out loud and write one out of three sentences correctly; and

  • The N-400 part, where the officer will ask you questions about your N-400, confirming the information provided while testing your ability to understand and speak English.

Does USCIS publish the civics test questions?

Yes. USCIS publishes a complete list of questions for the civics test. A USCIS officer will ask an applicant 10 of the 100 civics test questions. The questions are available on .


How can I study for my citizenship interview?

USCIS provides free educational resources to help applicants prepare for the naturalization test. Find study materials for the 2008 version of the civics test and English language test on There are also plenty of mock interview and reading/writing practice tests on YouTube. Many public libraries offer free classes to prepare applicants for naturalization. Contact your local library and check their schedule.

Will I be asked all of the civics questions during the naturalization interview?

No. You will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. You must answer 6 questions correctly to pass the  civics test.

Do I need to bring original documents such as birth and marriage certificates to the naturalization interview?

Yes. You should bring certain original documents to your interview, such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, evidence of child support payments, etc.

Can I be exempt from the civics/English requirements?

You are exempt from the English language requirement, but are still required to take the civics test if you are: 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident for 20 years OR 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident for 15 years. In this case, you will be permitted to take the civics test in your native language.

If you are 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization, you will only have to study specific questions for the civics test.

Also, the English and civics requirements do not apply to naturalization applicants who are unable to comply due to a “medically determinable” physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.  A licensed medical professional must complete a Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions (Form N-648) and certify, under penalty of perjury, that the applicant’s medical condition prevents the applicant from meeting the English requirement, the civics requirement, or both requirements.

What should I do if I have already applied for naturalization and my Permanent Resident Card, also known as “Green Card,” is expiring?

If you filed your Form N-400 at least six months before your Green Card expired, you may be issued an Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp as temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status.

If I fail a portion of the naturalization test, will I be retested?

Unless you are eligible for an exception to the English or civics requirements, you will be given two opportunities to meet the English and civics requirements. If you fail any portion of these requirements, you will be retested during a second interview on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.

How many times can I apply for naturalization?

There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for naturalization, but you must pay the filing fee for each Form N-400 you submit to the agency.

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