Physical Presence – You must demonstrate that you have been physically present in the US during at least half of the required period of residency. That is, you must actually reside in the US for two and one-half out of the five years immediately preceding your interview for naturalization, or one and one-half of the previous three years.
Loyalty – You must renounce your allegiance to your home country and pledge loyalty to the US when you take the oath of allegiance to the US at your naturalization ceremony.
Despite this renunciation, some countries continue to consider you as a citizen of your former country of citizenship. It is wise to check with the embassy of your country of citizenship prior to becoming a naturalized US citizen.
Good Moral Character – You must submit a completed fingerprint chart to the government as part of your application for naturalization.
The chart is forwarded to the FBI which notifies USCIS whether you have a criminal record if the FBI delays your case, you case retain an immigration lawyer to file a Writ of Mandamus. Applicants with serious criminal records and those who obtained their green cards through fraud may not be able to establish good moral character. Some may even be susceptible to deportation.
English – You must be able to speak, read, write and understand simple words and phrases in the English language. Some elderly, longtime permanent residents and those with certain disabilities are exempt from the English requirement.
History and Government – You are required to pass a short examination regarding the history and government of the US.
Obtaining citizenship through your parents – You may become a US citizen “by acquisition” at birth if one or both of your parents were US citizens at the time of your birth. If only one of your parents was a citizen at the time of your birth, that parent (or grandparent in some cases) has to have lived a specified period of time in the US prior to your birth in order to transmit citizenship to you.
You may also become a US citizen through your parents “by derivation” if you become a permanent resident and your parent(s) naturalize while you are below a certain age.
To obtain proof of citizenship, you may apply for a U.S. Passport or for a Certification of Citizenship or Naturalization at any time.