Information about Citizenship & Naturalization
Naturalization is the process used by a legal permanent resident to become a U.S. citizen. If you were not born a citizen of the U.S., you may become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process.
Once granted U.S. citizenship, you obtain certain rights and privileges. U.S. Citizens have the right to vote, the right to work for the federal government, and the right application for green cards for certain family members. As a U.S. citizen, you can obtain a U.S. passport which gives you the ability to enter many countries without a visa and request the U.S. government's protection when traveling abroad. As a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported or lose your U.S. citizenship even if you commit a crime or choose to live in another country unless you misrepresented yourself to obtain U.S. citizenship or were ineligible at the time of filing.
There are several eligibility requirements a person must meet before they can apply for naturalization:
- You must be admitted to the U.S. as a "lawful permanent resident," or have a green card;
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You have held lawful permanent resident status or had your green card for five years. You may apply after only three years if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen;
- You have maintained continuous residence in the United States for five years, or three years if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen;
- You were physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the five years, or half of the three years if you obtained your green card through a U.S. citizen spouse; and,
- You must show that you are a person of good moral character.
It is important to contact an immigration attorney when considering U.S. citizenship. Our immigration lawyers have extensive experience preparing citizenship/naturalization application. Talk to one of our attorneys who can explain the process and properly evaluate your case.