Naturalization and Citizenship

Many lawful permanent residents want to eventually become U.S. citizens, i.e., naturalize. US citizenship brings with it a number of rights, including:

  • The ability to petition for the permanent residence of parents, children and spouse with no backlog
  • The ability to bestow citizenship on a child born abroad
  • A U.S. citizen cannot be put in removal proceedings
  • The right to vote, hold office, and serve on juries
  • The right to live abroad indefinitely

In order to be eligible to naturalize, a foreign national must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Must be Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a resident continuously for 5 years subsequent to LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) status (3 years if the green card was based on marriage to a U.S. citizen
  • Must have resided for at least 3 months in the state in which the petition is filed
  • Must be physically present in the US for at least ½ of the 5 years
  • Must reside continuously within the US from the date the application is filed up to the time of admission to citizenship
  • Must not be absent from the US for a continuous period of more than one year during the period for which continuous residence is required
  • Must be a person of good moral character for 5 years prior to filing
  • Must be attached to the principles of the US Constitution
  • Must be willing to bear arms for the US
  • Must not be otherwise barred (subversive, terrorist, etc)
  • Must be able to satisfy the Civics and English language requirement