Some ways for acquiring citizenship, among others, are by naturalization, derivation citizenship, automatically, and citizenship under the 3-year rule, if Immigration granted permanent residence through marriage with a United States citizen. Some of these are more fully discussed below.
Citizenship by Birth in the United States
An individual who was born in the United States or its territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands) is a citizen of the United States, unless the individual affirmatively renounces his citizenship in the United States.
Citizenship by Membership in Indian tribes
An individual who is a member of the North American Indian, Eskimo or Aleutian tribes is a citizen of the United States, regardless of where he or she was born.
Citizenship by Birth outside the United States
An individual who was born outside the United States with parent/s who are United States citizens, may also be United States citizen. However, there may be residence requirements for the citizen parent in some instances involving an individual born outside the United States.
NOTE:- Citizenship by birth outside the United States may have restrictions, including the possibility that the individual must choose, upon reaching majority, whether he or she wishes to be a national of the United States or of the country in which he or she was actually born.
Citizenship Upon Naturalization of parent/s
An individual whose parents naturalize prior to their reaching majority, may also be a citizen of the United States.
Acquisition of Citizenship Through Naturalization
An individual may apply for naturalization and become a citizen of the United Sates after five years of lawful residence in the United States. As mentioned above, in some instances, the period may be only three years.
NOTE:- This method of acquiring citizenship requires that a person be of “good moral character”. Good moral character does not necessarily mean that the individual has committed a serious felony. A bar to good moral character may also be found, at times, when the individual has been convicted of a misdemeanor. Immigration law is quite counter-intuitive and some simple matters may be viewed very seriously by them. Furthermore, it may not only involve conviction for crimes. It may also involve other conduct. The Immigration Services has very broad discretion in determining whether an individual meets the “good moral character” criterion.
Nationality by Birth or Residence in a United States Outlying Possession
An individual who was born in an outlying possession of the United States may be considered a national, but not a citizen, of the United States.
Other Methods of Acquiring Citizenship
An individual may also qualify to apply for citizenship based on given periods of Active Duty Military Service. This rule may apply in certain circumstances whether or not the individual was a lawful permanent resident prior to the application for citizenship. It may also apply whether or not the individual was actually in active duty. However, the Military Service must have occurred during a time of conflict.
NOTE:- This method of acquiring citizenship also requires that a person be of “good moral character”. “Good moral character” is not as strictly defined in this method of acquiring citizenship. Misdemeanors are generally not a bar to good moral character in the case of Military Servicemen/women. However, the individual cannot be convicted of an “aggravated felony” as defined by the Immigration Act. It also does not only involve conviction for crimes; but can also involve other conduct which is considered questionably “moral” by Immigration’s standards.