A person can become an U.S. citizen by operation of law, for example when a person is born in the U.S.A. or born abroad to U.S. citizens. Another way of becoming a U.S. citizen is to apply for naturalization. Naturalization requires submitting an application to the U.S. immigration services (USCIS) and satisfying a number of eligibility requirements.
The general Naturalization requirements are:
All the above requirements have numerous rules and regulations, and case law expanding and interpreting the requirements. Further, there are several classes that are barred from naturalization while there are separate rules and regulation for the naturalization of special classes: spouses of US citizens, naturalization of children born outside the US, members of the armed forces and other special groups. Some applicants, if qualified, may be exempt from the literacy test requirement.
- Applicant must be lawfully permanent resident for 5 years, or 3 if applicant is married to a US citizen
- Applicant must be 18 years at time of filing application
- Applicant must satisfy continuous residency requirements
- Applicant must satisfy physical presence requirement
- Applicant must be a person of good moral character
- Applicants must pass a US civics and history test
- Applicants must pass an English reading and writing test
- Applicants must take the oath of Allegiance to the U.S.A.
In addition to satisfying the basic eligibility requirements, an applicant must assure the non-existence of grounds that can be an obstacle to obtaining U.S. citizenship, i.e. abandonment of residence, criminal history, false claim to citizenship, lack of good moral character, etc.
It is wise to counsel with a competent immigration attorney to review your case, to discuss all the eligibility requirements in depth and to advise you on your chance of success.
Arrange a consultation with our office to find out if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.