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How many years does it take to be a US citizen?

After several years, those who have a permanent residence card (Green Card) can apply for citizenship in the United States. Here all the details.

Conoce cuánto cuesta tramitar o renovar el pasaporte americano y cuál es el precio del servicio de procesamiento rápido.

Foreigners or immigrants who have received a permanent residence card, commonly known as a Green Card, enjoy various privileges. However, only natural-born United States citizens, as well as naturalized United States citizens, enjoy all the rights granted by the Constitution of the United States.

After several years, those with a permanent resident card (Green Card) can apply for US citizenship. We’ll explain how much time is needed and what the requirements are.

How many years does it take to be a US citizen?

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), naturalization is the way in which a foreigner not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a citizen.

The most common path to obtain US citizenship through naturalization is to be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) for at least 5 years. However, before applying for naturalization, certain eligibility requirements must be met. In addition to showing that you have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least five years, you must be at least 18 years of age at the time you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Other requirements include:

  • Demonstrate that you have had continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years.
  • Demonstrate that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months in the past five years.
  • Prove that you have resided for at least three months in a state or USCIS district that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. 
  • Be a person of good moral conduct.
  • Demonstrate adherence to the principles of the United States Constitution.
  • Be able to read, write, and communicate orally in basic English.
  • Know and understand the fundamentals of history and the principles and form of government of the United States (civics).
  • Take the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States.

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To determine if you are eligible, you may use the Naturalization Eligibility Tool. This resource is intended solely to help you identify if you may be eligible for naturalization. This tool does not determine if you are actually eligible for citizenship.

If their application is approved by the corresponding authorities, foreigners become naturalized citizens and acquire the following privileges:

  • Right to vote.
  • Right to run for public office.
  • Eligibility for federal employee benefits.
  • Get benefits from US tax law.
  • Not be subject to deportation.
  • You can have family members join you in the United States.
  • You can help your family members get their Green Card.

For more information, visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) web portal.