CITIZENSHIP & NATURALIZATION

U.S. Citizenship

An individual obtains U.S. Citizenship by birth in the United States, or birth abroad to a United States Citizen or national, or upon the naturalization of the custodial parent(s) prior to the legal permanent resident's (LPR) eighteenth birthday.

To qualify for naturalization (the process in which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he/she fulfills certain requirements by congress) the individual must:

Must be 18 years old

  • Be an LPR and have resided in the U.S. continuously for five years after obtaining LPR status. If married to U.S. Citizen, the permanent residency requirement is three years.
  • Must be physically present in the U.S. for at least one-half of the five years (one half of the three years for spouse of a U.S. Citizen.
  • Must have resided continuously within the U.S. from the date the application was filed for admission to citizenship.
  • Must not be absent for more than one (1) year during the periods of which continuous residence is required

The applicant must prove good moral character, English proficiency, and pass a basic civics exam.

Common Reasons for Denial of Citizenship

  1. Applicant cannot speak/write English
    Applicants are required to speak, understand and write in the English language. Exception: exists where the applicant is at least 50 years old and has maintained permanent residency for at least 20 years, or is at least 55 years old and has maintained permanent residency for at least 15 years. Here, the applicant may have the examination performed in his or her native language. The applicant may also apply for a Waiver if he or she is unable to learn English due to a medical condition.
  2. Arrests
    An applicant may be denied citizenship if he or she is on probation for any crime committed at the time of interview. An applicant may also be denied Citizenship if he or she committed a crime involving moral turpitude.

All Applicants for Citizenship will be interviewed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. The applicant may request one re-examination and an Attorney may accompany the Applicant to his or her Naturalization Interview.