Tips for Immigrants Who Are Hoping to Be U.S. Citizens

Becoming a U.S. citizen requires perseverance and diligence. It is a process that initiates right from embarking on the application process. An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to give you the best advice, and you should seek qualified legal representation after reviewing this page.

An applicant can apply for US citizenship only on meeting the following requirements:

  • The applicant must be admitted as a lawful permanent resident to the United States to possess the status of green card. However, one exception is if an applicant has served during war in the US armed forces, he may be become a US Citizen even without becoming or being a permanent resident.
  • Another requirement is to have continuous residence for at least five years in the US preceding the filing for naturalization. The continuous residence does not ask you to be physically present always. It is that one must have a legal permanent resident status and does not demand you to be physically within the US borders. For instance, an applicant can be overseas for a period, but must be having his address and paying the federal and state taxes, that ensure his residence continuity. If the stay in overseas is for few months, a travel document may be obtained. However, three years of continuous residence is enough for an applicant filing after marriage for US citizenship. This is applicable for an US citizen spouse who is married for the past three years.
  • Actual physical residence must be within the state for a period of at least three months before filing for the US citizenship by the applicant is also a requirement. Likewise, physical presence for at least half of the period must be within the US as continuous residence, which means two and a half years.
  • Must be able to write, read and speak simple English, except for disabilities such as blind, deaf or suffer some mental impairment or disability. People above 50 years at the time of filing living here for at least 20 years as a permanent resident and people more than 55 years having legal permanent residents for 15 years at least are exempted from this requirement.

A basic understanding of the U.S. history and fundamentals of the government is essential as an oral test is conducted for naturalization. Applicants must be 18 years of age at least at the time of filing. Above all good moral character must be reflected in the behavior of the applicant by having a clean criminal record and by paying taxes, as an important part to qualify the process of naturalization.

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