Naturalization refers to the process of granting citizenship to aliens in the United States after meeting the requirements of the Immigration Nationality Bill (INA). American citizens enjoy many rights, such as participating in national and local elections, freely accessing the United States without time limits, applying for naturalization for their foreign spouses and/or children, but American citizens should also assume corresponding obligations, including loyalty to the United States, support for and maintenance of the Constitution and laws of the United States, tax payment, conscription, and jury service. It is therefore important to make a decision to become a citizen of the United States through naturalization.


Basic requirements for applying for naturalization?

In most cases, foreigners want to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization, and first need to have a legal permanent resident status, the United States Green Card. In addition, other requirements of United States law must be complied with.

Generally speaking, the basic requirements for applying for naturalization are:

·        Reaching the age of eighteen when the application is submitted;

In exceptional cases, a minor who has not attained the age of 18 years may be naturalized with her/her parents if his or her parents naturalize before the date of his or her 18-year-old birthday.

·        Residence in the United States for a continuous period;

It is usually five years, and in some cases three years, depending on how the applicant obtains residence.

·        Good moral character;

To become a U.S. citizen, there must be a good code of ethics and a good compliance with the Constitution of the United States. The following conditions are not in compliance with the relevant requirements:

1.      Involved in prostitution, trafficking in human beings and other criminal offenses, in particular, the sentence of six months or more in prison;

2.      Committed adultery with others, and led to the dissolution of the marriage;

3.      Failure to properly comply with IRS laws regarding taxes ;

4.      Failure to register with the Selective Service when the alien is required to do so;

5.      Committed a crime or being convicted for moral corruption;

6.      Having been convicted twice or more of a total of more than 5 years or more;

7.      Having committed or declared guilty of a violation of the substantive law, except for the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana;

8.      Have been in criminal custody for 180 days or more;

9.      was convicted twice or more of gambling because of gambling;

10.   Earned principal income from illegal gambling;

11.   Habitual drunkenness;

12.   Once polygamy or polyandry;

13.   Deliberate or refuse to provide dependents;

14.   In order to obtain the corresponding benefit of immigration, lie in the oath.

·        Mastering the relevant American history and government knowledge;

This needs to be assessed by a set of tests that are based on multiple choice questions. Generally speaking, persons who are free from language restrictions also have to meet this requirement, although they may be allowed to take another form of examination.

·        Dawn of English.

Whether the applicant has such a capacity is determined by the immigration officer to test it. The comprehension ability of English and the ability to speak English are judged by the answer of the applicant when immigration officials ask questions about the interview. The applicant's ability to read and write English is judged by a special written examination. The following circumstances are not subject to language requirements:

1.      Due to physical disability or mental illness, the corresponding language requirements cannot be reached;

2.      At least 50 years old or above when submitting the application and resident in the United States as a permanent resident for at least 20 years; OR

3.      At the time of submitting the application, 55 years or more had been submitted and resided in the United States for at least 15 years as a permanent resident.



When to apply for naturalization?

The applicant must have attained the age of 18 at the time of submitting the application for naturalization and:

·        Having lived in the United      States for at least five consecutive years, if the foreigner was not      married to a United States citizen;

·        "He/she must remain married to his own American spouse for a period of three years or more in the United States if the foreigner is married to a United States citizen and until the foreigner carries out citizen testing, and his spouse must be able to remain a citizen."


The "continuous period" refers to the total time resides in the United States, without continuous calculation. If the applicant left the United States for more than six months, it would destroy the continuity of residence required by the naturalization, but some steps and measures could be taken to avoid undermining its continuity in the United States. It should be noted that, according to whether the applicant is married to a United States citizen, there is a requirement of 18 months or 30 months in the United States. If you do not meet the relevant requirements, you can't apply for naturalization in general.


Usually, when submitting an application for naturalization, the applicant is not required to satisfy all requirements for the naturalization period of the naturalization and may file an application for naturalization in the three months preceding the date of the fulfillment of the residence time requirement.


In some cases, some categories of foreign nationals are free from naturalization restrictions on residence time.

·        Three years or more served in the United States Army.

The applicant is required to obtain such an exemption for such period of residence, and must:

1.   have served in the U.S. military for at least three years and is a lawful permanent resident and an application for naturalization is filed while the applicant is still serving or within six months of an honorable discharge;

2.   have served honorably or separated under honorable conditions;

3.   complete three years or more of military service;

4.   be a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination of the application;

5.   establish good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable.

If the applicant files an application only six months after retirement and has served in the military for at least three years, his time of service in the army can be regarded as the time of continuous residence in the United States.

·        Spouse of United States Citizens sent abroad

Spouses of American citizens who are sent overseas by their employers in the United States are also protected from continuous residence times. Condition is:

1.      The foreign spouse of a citizen of the United States must be a permanent resident,

2.      Must be present in the United States when submitting an application for naturalization.

3.      It is necessary to confirm the willingness to reside in the United States after completing the assigned tasks,

4.      And, in most cases, it must be expressed that it will continue to live with spouses as citizens of the United States after naturalization.

If these conditions are met, foreigners may apply for naturalization as soon as they get a green card, without being subject to a three-year or five-year limit after obtaining a green card.

·        A non-citizen child of a citizen of the United States.

In cases where the following conditions are met, United States citizens may apply for accelerated naturalization for their own non-citizens' children:

     1.      At least one parent is a citizen of the United States;

     2.    "Children enter the United States legally, and at that time in the United States (not necessarily in the identity of permanent residents)";

     3.    Children under 18 years of age and under the legal guardianship of their parents;

     4.    The American citizen parent must be in the United States for at least five years and at least two years after his/her 14th birthday;

     5.    If the American citizenship's parents cannot meet the last requirement, then a non-citizen child must be a permanent resident of the United States, or a child of non-citizenship whose parents are American citizens and have been in the United States for at least five years, at least two years after his/her 14th birthday.

·        "For naturalization of one or both parents, a child shall be      accompanied by an applicant as a subsidiary."

In any of the following cases, a noncitizen child, when applying for naturalization in his/her foreign father/mother, must be 1) unmarried and under 18 years of age, and 2 in permanent resident status in the United States.

    1. If a foreign child is born outside the United States and one of his parents is a citizen of the United States and the other is a foreign country, his/her foreign father/mother shall be in the United States when applying for naturalization.

    2. Parents of foreign children must be naturalized before their eighteenth birthday if their parents are not a citizen of the United States at the time of their birth.

    3.      If the parents of a foreign child are foreigners, either of them dies or both parents are separated, if their parents are still alive, or if they are naturalized in a party legally entitled to guardianship.



How to apply for naturalization?

The application materials shall include:

1.      Request Form;

        1)     N.400 Registration Application Form;

        2)     Form N-648: Applicants for disability applications for English proficiency testing and/or United States historical government knowledge testing, submitted together with the N-400;

        3)     N-470 Table: Applicants who want to stay in the United States for a longer period of stay outside the United States.

2.      Photocopy of the green card;

3.      Two 2-inch passport photos.

4.      Fees for application and fingerprints.


Request Process:

1.      Submit naturalization application materials;

2.      Searching for fingerprints at appointed places and times;

3.      After the applicant has finished his fingerprint, the Immigration Bureau will send the fingerprint to the FBI to conduct a background survey of the applicant.

4.      If the applicant has successfully passed the background survey, he will receive an interview sent by the Migration Board.

        English proficiency test and American history knowledge test will be conducted in this interview. The immigration officers who oversee the test judge whether the applicant meets the requirements of naturalization and generally make a final decision on the day of the interview.

5.      If the applicant is admitted to membership, the Migration Board will arrange the time of the oath.

6.      Upon the end of the oath, the applicant will obtain a naturalization certificate (Certify of Naturalization).


The time for the handling of naturalization applications by the various local offices is different. Most of the local offices have been processing for about two years. The Migration Board is continuing to improve the naturalization process and, in the next two years, the Migration Board will reduce the processing time of naturalization to six months.


How should a naturalization request be handled after it is rejected?

In response to a rejected application, if the applicant considers that his or her application should not be rejected, the applicant may apply for an administrative reconsideration procedure, i.e., to apply for reconsideration with the participation of the immigration officer. The applicant's veto will explain how to apply for reconsideration and provide the required form of application N-336 for review at the same time ( Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under Section 336 of the Act).

In most cases, the applicant may re-apply for naturalization, regardless of whether to take administrative reconsideration or not. If the application is repeated, all the application procedures need to be re-submitted, including the re-submission of an N-400 table, the re-payment of the application fee, the reprinting of the handprint and the photograph. If the application for naturalization is denied, the rejection letter may indicate the time at which the application may be reapplied. If the applicant fails to pass the English proficiency test or test for the relevant naturalization culture, the applicant may submit the application anew at any time, provided that the applicant considers that he/she may pass the English proficiency test and other relevant tests.