CITIZENSHIP AND NATRUALIZATION
Naturalization is the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship. If you are married to a U.S. citizen and want to obtain citizenship, you must be a green card holder for at least 3 years (36 months), and living in marital union to a U.S. citizen who was a citizen during that entire three year time period. Various other requirements also apply.
Foreign citizens or nationals can be naturalized only after fulfilling certain requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Once somebody is naturalized, these new citizens enjoy nearly all the same benefits, rights and responsibilities as native-born U.S. citizens. One way a person can acquire citizenship is through naturalization. Through the process of naturalization, a person has to apply and to meet certain statutory requirements.
Another way a person can become a U.S. citizen is through Operation of Law. Through Operation of Law, a person acquires citizenship automatically and does not require him or her to do anything. For example, a person born in the U.S. or a person who is born abroad to U.S. citizens acquires citizenship this way.
Children can receive citizenship if his or her parents are naturalized; i.e. if the parents become U.S. citizens. This is known as Derivative Citizenship. This may also apply to certain foreign-born children adopted by U.S. citizen parents.