Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States is an important step to creating a better life for you and your family, and will enable you to more fully participate in your community, and the world. Being a citizen means that it is easier to re-enter the United States after traveling outside of the country. Citizens can take longer trips outside of the United States without having their status affected.

Citizens of the United States have the ability to petition family members to enter the United States, and Green-Card-holding children of citizens have the option to become U.S. Citizens themselves. There are also numerous rights and access to resources citizens of the United States enjoy, such as the ability to vote, to run for California State and some federal public offices, to obtain federal jobs, grants, and other governmental benefits, and to obtain and travel with a U.S. Passport.

The savings of over $540 in Green Card renewal fees make becoming a citizen of the United States an important financial decision as well.


How to Apply for Citizenship



Becoming a Naturalized United States Citizen is an important step to creating a better life for you and your family. As a U.S. citizen you are better able to participate in the civic process, petition family members to join you in the United States, obtain a U.S. passport, and more! Embarking on the path to citizenship opens a variety of doors to you and your family to have additional access to resources and opportunities that only United States Citizens can enjoy. 


  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a person of good moral character;
  • Have resided at least 5 years as a Lawful Permanent Resident, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen;
  • Have 5 years living in, and physically present in, the United States without major absences out of the country;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English (Language exceptions below);
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and civics;
  • Have 3 months living in the jurisdiction of where you will apply;
  • And be willing to take an oath of loyalty to the United States.

For more information about the requirements, click here.


The naturalization process can be costly. However, you might qualify to have the fees completely waived if you meet one of the following circumstances:

  • You or qualified members of your household are currently receiving a means-tested benefit. A means-tested benefit is one for which the individual’s income/resources determine eligibility and/or the benefit amount, such as Supplemental Security Income, or Medi-Cal, among others.

NOTE: This option is currently under threat and may be subject to change in the coming months. 

  • Your household income is at or below the 150% Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time you file your application.  Check the current poverty guidelines for this year at: Form I-912P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Fee Waiver Requests.
  • You are experiencing a financial hardship that prevents you from paying the filing fee, including unexpected medical bills or emergencies such as bankruptcy.

For more information on Fee Waivers, click here.

Reduced Fee Waivers are available if you meet the following requirement:

For more information about fees, click here.

NOTE: Applying for a fee waiver under the current administration's new policy changes, may result in potential hardships in family petitions. 




NOTE: You are still required to take the Civics test, even if you are exempt from the English language requirement.

For more information on language exceptions, click here.



You may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment.

To request this exception, submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. This form must be completed by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist.