How to Apply for Citizenship

Applying for U.S. Citizenship is a complex process. In general, applicants for citizenship must show the following:


  1.  The applicant is already a lawful permanent resident of the United States - that is, the applicant must have a "green card."

  2. The applicant has been a permanent resident for the required length of time. Most commonly, that length of time is four years and nine months, but there are exceptions for certain applicants.

  3. The applicant must meet certain residency requirements.

  4. The applicant must not have any criminal convictions which make him ineligible for naturalization.

  5. The applicant must read and write basic English, and must be able to answer basic questions about U.S. history and government. There are exemptions to the English reading and writing requirements for applicants who are older than fifty and have had green cards for longer than fifteen years. Those exemptions are outlined here.

This is only a general overview of the naturalization requirements. We encourage you to apply for help with the Borromeo Legal Project, Inc. to determine whether you are eligible to naturalize. A lawyer can help you evaluate your eligibility and discuss the process thoroughly with you.

Please keep in mind that the Borromeo Legal Project, Inc. selects candidates based on financial need. Applications are evaluated individually by board members to determine whether a candidate merits financial assistance and pro bono legal advice from the Borromeo Legal Project, Inc.

General information about the reading, writing, and civics examinations is given below. 

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Reading Requirement

Applicants must be able to read basic English sentences and understand the naturalization applicant. Vocabulary worksheets for the reading test are available here.


Writing Requirement

Applicants must be able to write basic English sentences. Vocabulary and worksheets for the writing test are available here.


Civics Test

There are one hundred U.S. history and civics questions. Applicants must answer at least six out of ten questions correctly. The test questions are available here.