How to apply for the US citizenship as an Indian
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How to apply for the US citizenship as an Indian

Moumita Basu

Getting citizenship in the US is a dream for many. A large number of people who might temporarily relocate to the US for higher education or for work, tend to apply for citizenship and decide to move there forever. And why not? The US offers world-class education, healthcare, and job prospects. In this blog, we will discuss in detail how to apply for a US citizenship.

US Citizenship through Naturalization

Naturalization is a process to become a US citizen if you were born outside of the United States. But to do that, you have to fulfill some criteria. To apply for citizenship in the US:

  • You have to be at least 18 years of age or above
  • Have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least three or five years
  • Have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Demonstrate good moral character
  • Has proper knowledge and understanding of the US government
  • Shows loyalty to the US Constitution and its principles
  • Be willing to take the oath of allegiance

For detailed information and exceptions, including special provisions for those who have served in the US military, visit Naturalization through military services. To file online, you have to create a USCIS online account and submit

  • Evidence and pay fees online
  • Receive case status updates and see complete case history
  • Communicate securely and directly
  • Respond to requests for the evidence

First thing’s first, if you are planning to file by paper,

  • Read the instructions for Form 400, the application for Naturalization
  • Complete and sign the Form N-400
  • Pay the filing fee if applicable
  • Provide all the required evidence and supporting documents

And, after you file…  

  • You will receive a receipt note confirming that your application has been received
  • Biometric services notice if applicable
  • Notice to appear for an interview if required
  • Notice of your decision

Citizenship Through Marriage

Special rules in the US immigration law allow permanent residents to apply for citizenship through marriage to apply after just three years. To acquire US citizenship as an Indian, you have to follow some rules like permanent residents applying for citizenship must reside in the US for at least five years. But, a spouse of a US citizen who lives in the United States may be eligible to file an N-400 Application for Naturalization based on your marriage after three years.  The requirements for Naturalization are as follows:

  • You have to be 18 or older
  • You have to be a lawful permanent resident at the time of filing the N-400 application
  • You have to be married to the US citizen spouse for at least three years preceding the naturalization application
  • You have to be married up until the time you take the Oath of Allegiance
  • You have to reside in the US as a permanent resident for at least three years after applying and up to the time of Naturalization
  • You have to be physically present in the United States for at least 18 months out of the three years from the date of filing your application
  • You have to live within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction for at least three months before the date of filing
  • You have to show a basic understanding of English in writing, reading, and understanding
  • You have to have prior knowledge of the fundamentals of the history and principles and form of government of the United States
  • You have to demonstrate show you're of good normal character for at least three years before applying until the time of Naturalization
  • Last but not least, you have to show attachment to the principles of the US. Constitution and be well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law

What are the documents required to file for US citizenship through marriage?

You must submit N-400 for Naturalization and the USCIS filing fees to apply for Naturalization. Other certificates that you will need are:

  • You have to provide evidence that your partner has been a US citizen for at least three years when you file Form N-400.
  • You have to submit evidence for legal marriage where the applicant needs them to establish the validity of their marriage. The legal validity is determined by the law of the place where the marriage happened
  • If either of you had a prior marriage, all evidence has to be submitted that proves all previous marriages have been terminated.
  • You also have to provide evidence and related documents to establish your marital union and that your partner has lived with you for at least three years when you file your Form N-400.

Citizenship by Birth

Typically, people get their US citizenship through their parents by birth. Generally speaking, a person can become a US citizen through parents or by birth through:

  • By being born in the United States or one of its territories
  • By being born to parents who are US citizens
  • If any one of your parents or both your parents have been naturalized

It might seem surprising, but many people have attained US citizenship without even realizing it. These people are usually grouped into three categories, which are:

  • The first one is people born in the US but have lived outside of the country most of their lives. Some of these people mistakenly believe that they may lose their citizenship and Naturalization by living outside of the country for an extended period, but this isn't the case
  • People who believe they are not citizens even if their ancestors were US citizens. It could be that an individual was born outside of the US that person is a citizen if their parents or grandparents were US citizens
  • Minor children of naturalized citizens may believe that they are not US citizens, but when their parents become naturalized citizens, their kids with green cards also acquire US citizenship

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get US citizenship for an Indian?

Currently, it takes around six months to a year to get US citizenship from the time you apply. The process starts when you receive your green card, but a definite timeline cannot be said.

How can an Indian citizen get a US green card?

If you are planning to become a US citizen, then you can file a form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with USCIS, including all supporting documents and fees. USCIS will review your application and schedule an interview with you. Once issued, your Green Card will be valid for 10 years.

How to get dual citizenship?

If you are planning to apply for US citizenship as an Indian, you have to renounce your citizenship in India as India doesn’t recognize dual citizenship.

How to immigrate to the US from India without a job offer?

You cannot apply for a job visa on your own without an offer without the support of a US employer. Working in the US is not as simple as applying, getting a job, and moving to the US as you have to have a valid US work permit to legally work in the US.

What is the easiest way to immigrate to the US as an Indian citizen?

If you want to move to the US in the shortest way possible, getting a work permit or work visa from your employer is the easiest way to go.

How to apply for a green card in the US for my family?

If you are planning to apply for a green card for your family, you have to file form I-130, and petition for alien relatives. Along with the form, you have to submit proof and relevant documents proving you are a permanent US resident. Additionally, you might also need to submit evidence of your marriage, birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.