If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
To become a citizen at birth, you must:
- Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR
- had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements
To become a citizen after birth, you must:
- Apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents
- Apply for naturalization
For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance.
The Naturalization Test
Most naturalization applicants are required to take a test on:
- Civics (U.S. history and government)
We provide resources to help you prepare. For more information, visit our Naturalization Test page. Get study materials from the Citizenship Resource Center.
Citizenship for Military Members and Dependents
Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents may be eligible for special naturalization provisions. For more information, visit our Citizenship for Military Personnel & Family Members page.
For information on dual citizenship, visit the U.S. Department of State Services Dual Nationality website.
The Value of Citizenship
The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.
Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.