If you or someone you love is trying to become a U.S. citizen, you may have a general idea of what the process entails. There are various routes or pathways to becoming a citizen, and while each is different, they all end at the same point.
Get a better understanding of some of the most popular ways to attain American citizenship.
Get a work or student visa
A visa grants you the right to live in the country; however, there are often rules associated with a visa and it is a temporary permit. Some people gain visas so they have permission to attend a post-secondary school or so they can work. A visa is one step you can take toward citizenship.
Get a green card
With the ultimate goal of citizenship, a green card is another way to authorize you to remain in the country. This is the most common path to citizenship because it allows you to live and work in the country for several years. Green cards require an application and a background check, both of which can take time to process.
Since naturalization requires five years of residency and work history in the U.S., a green card allows you to do this, often without renewal. You may get a green card if your spouse is a U.S. citizen, you have family who can allow you to live with them or you can support yourself financially.
You cannot become a naturalized citizen without taking the necessary steps, including having a green card. Anyone age 18 and above may apply to become a citizen.