Want to Become a Naturalized U.S. Citizen?

The vast majority of U.S. citizens became citizens due to the virtue of their—and their parents’—birthplace. Other times, minor children become naturalized when one or more of their parents become naturalized. What this blog will focus on is the naturalization process for adults who choose to become U.S. citizens. 

General Requirements

Around 9 in 10 applicants for naturalization are adults (individuals 18 or older) who have been lawfully residing in the U.S. for at least five years immediately preceding their application (Form N-400, Application for Naturalization). Besides showing that you have been a lawful permanent resident for the past five years, you must: 

  • Prove that you have had a “continuous presence” in the U.S. for at least five years. This does not mean that you are not allowed to leave the country during this period; rather, it means that you did not stay outside the U.S. for more than six months in a single trip. There are exceptions to this rule, but staying outside the U.S. for more than a year is extremely difficult to overcome (relative to trips longer than six months but shorter than a year). Overall, you need to have been physically present for at least 30 months of the previous five years. 
  • Show that you have lived in a particular state or USCIS jurisdiction for at least three months immediately prior to submitting your naturalization application. 
  • Show that you have “good moral character” now and during the five years prior to your application. There are many factors that go into determining whether a U.S. non citizen has good moral character. Some disqualifiers include many types of felonies, multiple DUI convictions, and lying to immigration agents or officials. 
  • Pass a test (or series of tests) that evaluate you on your grasp of the English language and principles of U.S. civics, history, and government. 
  • Take an Oath of Allegiance to the country. 

Other Pathways to Naturalization

Besides being a lawful permanent resident for five years (and satisfying the other requirements we just covered), there are other ways to become a naturalized citizen. Those who are married to U.S. citizens must live in the country for just three years prior to submitting Form N-400. Individuals who are in the U.S. military or married to someone who is may also have different requirements.

Each naturalization case is unique. Each case necessitates the help of an attorney with experience helping lawful permanent residents and other non citizens achieve their dreams of becoming a U.S. citizen. Experience matters, and RelisLaw has been helping clients for decades. We offer free 10-minute phone consultations to all prospective clients; call us at 1-800-514-4290 to get started.

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We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.