How is U.S. Citizenship Obtained?
United States citizenship is acquired by either birth in the U.S. (or a U.S. territory), descent or through naturalization. Citizenship cannot be taken away (expect in very rare circumstances) and allows a person the right to vote in U.S. elections, travel or live abroad for lengthy periods, and petition for permanent resident status of family members.
What is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In most cases, an applicant for naturalization must be a permanent resident (green card holder) before filing. Except for certain U.S. military members and their dependents, naturalization can only be granted in the United States.
Requirements to Naturalize:
- Must be 18 or older however, minor children can gain derivative naturalization through parents
- Must be a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Have lived within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a permanent resident for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of the filing the application or 3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Reside “continuously” within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization
- Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics)
- 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 during all relevant periods under the law
- We provide assistance in determining an individual’s eligibility for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
- We guide those interested in obtain citizenship deal with issues impacting eligibility, such as extended travel.
- We represent individuals in connection with applications for naturalization.
- Naturalization by birth or derivation can present complex situations. In such cases, we assess the merits and proof of the claim. When appropriate, we represent individuals seeking certificates of citizenship.