Foreign nationals who currently live in California may be allowed to become naturalized citizens of the United States. To become a citizen, an individual must have been a permanent resident for at least five years, and during those five years, an applicant must have been in the country for at least half of that time. Those who are married to United States citizens or who are refugees may be allowed to apply sooner.

The same may also be true for those who obtained permanent residency status after receiving asylum for political reasons. Individuals who wish to become citizens must be 18 or older, communicate effectively in English and have the ability to pass an American history and government test. The naturalization process begins by submitting an application and sitting for an interview. Often, many months will pass between the time an application is submitted and the interview takes place.

The person who an applicant speaks with will be looking to see how well a foreign national can communicate in English. Furthermore, applicants will likely be asked about any trips that they have taken outside of the United States during their time as permanent residents. Individuals are encouraged to answer those questions truthfully as failing to do so could result in being deported.

Those who are seeking to obtain American citizenship may improve their odds of achieving this goal by seeking the guidance of an immigration attorney. The attorney may be able to help a permanent resident fill out paperwork, prepare for an interview and study for the citizenship test. Legal counsel may also be able to answer any questions a person may have about the process of applying or if he or she is currently eligible to do so.