Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization PIC
Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization- Green Card to Citizenship

By kalantarovlaw | Immigration | 0 Comments

Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization- Green Card to Citizenship

As an attorney, there is no greater reward than assisting clients achieve the first step of the American Dream: becoming an American. The very highest benefit a person can receive under U.S. immigration law is to become a citizen of the United States. This article discusses the process by which a permanent resident (green card holder) becomes a U.S. citizen. This is process is known as Naturalization.

If you meet all the following criteria, you are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship:

  1. You are at least 18 years old at the time of filing the application. Note that children, under certain circumstances, derive U.S. citizenship automatically through the naturalization of a parent.
  2. You are a permanent resident of the United States for a required period of time. Generally, you must be a permanent resident (from the time the green card was issued) for a period of at least five (5) years. In some cases, this period may be shorter based on certain categories of applicants. For example, applicants applying for Naturalization on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen may apply after three years. Other categories of applicants that may apply sooner include: the battered spouse of a U.S. citizen, even if divorced or separated; a refugee or political asylee; a U.S. military members or a military widow or widower, and a spouse of a U.S. citizen in certain types of overseas job. It is important to note that you may submit your application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 90 days before your required years of permanent residence have passed, to compensate for processing time.
  3. You have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing;
  4. You have demonstrated physical presence within the United States for a required period of time. “Physically present” refers to living in the United States with a permanent residence. Generally, the applicant must be lining in the United States for a period of at least 30 months of the required five years permanent residence.
  5. You have demonstrated continuous residence for a required period of time. That means you have not spent long periods of time (six months or more) overseas. If it is determined that the applicant has spent extensive time outside the United States, USCIS may deem that you have abandoned your permanent residence and may terminate your green card
  6. You demonstrate good moral character. Evidence of this includes filing and paying taxes annually, being a contributing member to the community, paying child support if applicable, no criminal record. (Note that a criminal record does not automatically make you ineligible for Naturalization, rather it is weighed in conjunction other relevant factors. It is important to disclose any and all arrests and convictions on your application.)
  7. You demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
  8. You demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as “civics”) as well as an ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English. You will also be tested on this during the naturalization interview at a USCIS office. Fortunately, all the possible questions are available for you to study in advance. You may be eligible for an exception to the English language and/or civics tests due to a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, 12 months or more.

If for any reason, you don’t pass the civics and/or the reading, writing, or speaking part of the interview, you will be afforded another opportunity at a later scheduled date.

Once you pass the naturalization interview, you will attend a swearing-in ceremony, where you will take the Oath of Allegiance.

If you are in doubt about your eligibility, think you might qualify for an exception, need help in properly preparing the application, or accompaniment to the interview, hire an experienced U.S. immigration attorney, Sergey Kalantarov, Esq. of Kalantarov Law, PLLC. For more information on this topic or any related Immigration issues, call (718)425-4162 to schedule your FREE consultation.


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