Over the course of the 2010 fiscal year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalized over 676,000 individuals. 6.6 million individuals have been naturalized in the United States in the last decade.
To become naturalized, an individual must file an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) and meet the following requirements as set forth by the Immigration Nationality Act (INA):
• Be at least 18 • Be a lawful permanent resident • Have lived in the US for at least five years • Have been physically present in the US for 30 months • Have good moral character • Speak, read, and write in English • Be knowledgeable of US government and history • Take the Oath of Allegiance
There are however exceptions and special exemptions to the requirements of naturalization. The provisions mainly apply to spouses of US citizens, members of the military and children under the age of 18.
After fulfilling the naturalization requirements and filing a Form N-400, an individual will have an interview scheduled with a USCIS officer. If found qualified by the USCIS officer during the interview, the individual is then scheduled to take the Oath of Allegiance which completes the naturalization process.