Naturalization and Citizenship

If you’re viewing this page, perhaps you are one of the lucky individuals who is eligible to become a United States Citizen (after patiently waiting for five years in permanent resident status). Naturalization, or the process of becoming a US Citizen, marks the end of a long, difficult journey for some, but the rewards are most certainly great. No longer can you be “removed” or “deported”, you can vote, work for the federal government, travel with a US passport, you can live and work where you please, and as an immigrant yourself, perhaps you have loved ones back in the country of your origin you would like to sponsor for permanent residency.

While naturalization and citizenship is relatively straightforward, like any another area of the law, complications can arise if your case has certain “issues”. Were you convicted of any crimes involving “moral turpitude”? Did you leave the United States for a period of six months or longer? If so, then your Citizenship may not be approved. In these cases, it’s often best to discuss your situation with a licensed immigration attorney to accurately assess your situation. You’ve made it this far, contact us to see if your case might present potential problems and give your Citizenship petition the best possible chances at approval.

To file for Naturalization, aliens must file Form N-400 with the USCIS. The requirements for becoming a US Citizen through Naturalization are:

  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
  • Be a permanent resident (have a “green card”) for at least 5 years.
  • Have lived within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Have continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  • Be a person of good moral character.
  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

The above list is just a summary, more detailed information can be found on the USCIS website, including information on taking the “Civics Test” and regulations relating to continuous residence. As one can see, there are quite a few requirements to becoming a US Citizen.  If you are considering Naturalization and have questions or concerns, feel free to contact this office for a free consultation.