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Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen. It is a two-step process and takes about five years to complete.
A Declaration of Intention is a document, usually filed in a court, by an alien declaring his intention to apply for citizenship after fulfillment of the residency requirement. It is frequently called "First Papers." Aliens must have resided in the United States for a specific period of time prior to applying.
Final papers are the Petition for Citizenship with supporting affidavits, filed in court by an alien. Naturalization and Oath of Allegiance are taken after an additional three years of residency.
Collective naturalization is a process used when a government acquires the territory of a foreign government by treaty or cession, and the inhabitants receive the rights and privileges of citizenship.
Naturalization was necessary only for those who had the right to vote. Women and children were not naturalized until the 20th century.