Immigration Reform 2013: 5 Paths to U.S. Citizenship Under the Current Immigration Law


As Washington debates how to fix our "broken" immigration system, let's look at 5 paths to U.S. citizenship under current immigration law.

1. By Birth:

Those born in the United States, its territories or within its jurisdiction — or with a parent who is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth.

2. For Military Members and Dependents:


Members of the U.S. armed forces, and their spouses and children, may be eligible for "special naturalization provisions."

3. Permanent Residents After 5 Years:

Those who have been permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) for at least 5 years can apply for naturalization. 

4. For Spouses of U.S. Citizens:

Those green card holders who have been living in "marital union" with the same U.S. citizen spouse during a period of at least 3 years.

5. Through a "Diversity Visa":

The State Department issues 50,000 "diversity visas" annually for countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. The winners then have the change to apply for a green card and refer to No. 3.  

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READ: 5 U.S. Citizenship Test Questions You'd Probably Fail