Ways to Become a U.S. Citizen

There are several ways through which foreign nationals can become U.S. citizens. The following are the four ways to obtain citizenship in the United States:

  • Citizenship by birth
  • Citizenship by marriage
  • Citizenship by naturalization
  • Citizenship by military service

Most immigrants to the United States become citizens through the naturalization process. One of the most common avenues is for Lawful Permanent Residents (also known as green card holders) to meet citizenship eligibility criteria and then apply for it. Nearly one million permanent residents on average apply for naturalization each year.

There are several ways you can become a permanent resident. For most people, it is through any of the following routes:

  • Family sponsorship
  • Employment
  • Investment/entrepreneurship
  • Diversity lottery.

Others may become permanent residents through humanitarian programs, refugee, or asylum status.


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