The Path for Most Foreign Nationals to Obtain U.S. Citizenship Begins with Obtaining Permanent Resident or “Green Card” Status.
Green card holders who maintain their status for three or five years, depending on how they received the status, can apply for naturalization in order to officially become a U.S. citizen. Additionally, the requirements include the following:
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You must live within the same USCIS district for at least three months prior to filing the petition.
- You must demonstrate that you have continuously resided in the U.S. as a permanent resident for the required period of permanent resident status prior to submitting your application.
- You must have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the statutorily-required period of permanent residence prior to submitting your application. You must not have had breaks of six months or longer, though in some instances a break of six to 12 months may be excused.
- You must be able to read, write, and speak English unless eligible for a waiver.
- You must have basic knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government. There is a 100-question database of civics information that applicants for citizenship are expected to know.
- You must be a “person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.”
Once eligibility has been met to apply for U.S. citizenship, the process begins with the filing of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Along with the application fee and any supporting evidence of eligibility, the application can be sent by mail or filed electronically with USCIS. Processing times may vary, but following the submission of the application, applicants are notified of the time and place of the naturalization interview.
At the interview, an immigration officer will review the application with the applicant and administer the required English and civics exams. If the applicant successfully passes the interview, he or she will be sworn in as a U.S. citizen at a separate naturalization ceremony at a later date. At that time, a certificate of naturalization is issued to the applicant as proof of their U.S. citizenship.
The immigration attorneys at Dworken and Bernstein meet with individuals one-on-one to confirm eligibility for citizenship, properly prepare the application, and ultimately attend the final interview with the applicant at no additional charge. As the above demonstrates, the attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein go above and beyond to fully prepare individuals for naturalization success.