U.S. Citizenship People may apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of permanent residence if they obtained their permanent residence on the basis of marriage, are still married, and if they are still living together with their spouses. Certain military personnel may obtain citizenship within a year. Otherwise, people may apply for U.S. citizenship after five years. Residence and good moral character requirements must be met. Most people will need to pass an English test and a civics test in order to naturalize.