Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
General Naturalization Requirements
Those individuals who are not born a U.S. citizen can choose to become a citizen through the naturalization process. There are many requirements for naturalization, including:
Applicants for naturalization must be at least 18 years old. There are special waivers allowed for applicants who are less than 18 years old. For these provisions, you can view the USCIS site on Naturalized Citizen's Children.
To be eligible to naturalize, you must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. You will be asked to produce your “green card,” called the I-551 Alien Registration Receipt Card, as proof of your status.
You must also have physically resided in the United States for a period of time before you can become a U.S. citizen. You must meet the following residency requirements:
PLEASE NOTE: If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can naturalize if you have been living in the United States with your spouse for three years, rather than the five years generally required.
Generally, you must show that you have been a person of good moral character for a certain period of time prior to filing for naturalization. This is typically five years, but it is three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen or one year if you are requesting expedited naturalization for service in the Armed Forces. The USCIS may also look at evidence of your character beyond this period of time. An applicant is permanently barred from naturalization if he or she has ever been convicted of murder, or convicted of an aggravated felony as defined in section 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act after November 28, 1990.
A person also cannot be found to be a person of good moral character if during the last five years he or she:
You must disclose all relevant facts to the USCIS, including your entire criminal history, regardless of whether the criminal history disqualifies you under these provisions.
You must show that you are attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.
You must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. Applicants are exempt from this requirement if on the date of filing they:
To get your U.S. citizenship, you must be able to read, write and understand English. There are some exemptions from the English language requirements for those over 55 years who have lived in the United States as lawful permanent residents for 15 years, or are over 50 years old and have lived in the United States as lawful permanent residents for 20 years.
You will also have to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of history and government of the United States.
Exceptions to these requirements are available for the disabled, members of the military, veterans, spouses married to U.S. citizens living overseas, and lawful permanent residents who work for certain organizations that promote U.S. interests abroad.
You must also demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles and government of the United States. Applicants exempt from this requirement are those who, on the date of filing, have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn U.S. History and Government.
Applicants who have been residing in the U.S. subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least 20 years and are over the age of 65 will be afforded special consideration in satisfying this requirement. The USCIS website contains several examples of these questions, including Naturalization Test Questions for Applicants Meeting 65/20 Exception, Test Yourself on U.S. History and 100 Sample U.S. History Questions with Answers.
To become a citizen, you must take the oath of allegiance. In this oath, you must swear to:
In certain instances, if you establish that you are opposed to any type of service in the armed forces because of your religious teaching or belief, the USCIS will permit you to take a modified oath. You can read the Oath of Allegiance on the USCIS website.
Applying for naturalization requires filing a form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, with supporting documentation proving your eligibility. You must also have your fingerprints taken, and appear for an interview with an Immigration Officer.
If you would like assistance applying for U.S. citizenship, please contact Peng & Weber.