What is Naturalization
Naturalization is a way for immigrants, foreign nationals or foreign citizens to achieve United States citizenship. Becoming a US citizen through naturalization requires several conditions to be met. However, depending on the specifics of a naturalization applicant's situation, there may be some exemptions to these naturalization requirements.
Starting the Naturalization Application
For anyone over the age of 18, the naturalization application can be started by submitting the Application for Naturalization form, Form N-400. The naturalization application requires that applicants meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements are determined by the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Naturalization Application Eligibility Requirements
There are several requirements that must be met for someone to be eligible for naturalization. These requirements include:
- The naturalization applicant is at least 18 years old
- The applicant is a legal permanent resident of the United States (also known as a green card holder)
- The person filing a naturalization application has been a United States resident for a minimum of five (5) years
- They have maintained a physical presence in the United States for a minimum of 30 months
- Naturalized citizens must be considered to have “good moral character”
- Naturalization application filers must have the ability to speak, read, write and understand English
- Eligible applicants are required to know basic information about United States history and government
- Naturalization applications must have the desire and ability to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
Naturalization Application Exemptions
Certain naturalization rules can make some applicants exempt from one or several naturalization requirements. For example, people who are married to U.S. citizens and U.S. military members are exempt from some naturalization requirements.
Naturalization Application Exemptions: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
Most people who are completing their naturalization application as a husband or wife of an American citizen are permitted to apply for naturalization three years after getting their green card. This is opposed to the five years after getting a green card for people whose spouse is not a U.S. citizen.
Naturalization Application Exemptions: Military Members
People who’ve served in the U.S. military and have served honorably for at least one year during specific times of conflict can be eligible for naturalization. American military members completing a naturalization application are eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens. This extends to military members who may not currently hold lawful permanent resident status. However, military members submitting a naturalization application must be a green card holder (or permanent resident) by the time they’re interviewed by USCIS (see “Becoming A US Citizen With the Naturalization Application” section below for more details about this interview). Military members completing a naturalization application are also not required to satisfy general residence and physical presence requirements.
Becoming A US Citizen With the Naturalization Application
After completing and submitting the naturalization application, a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer must interview the applicant before citizenship is granted. If the USCIS interviewer believes the naturalization applicant meets qualifications, the applicant is sworn in as a U.S. citizen after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
Talk With An Experienced Immigration Lawyer About Your Naturalization Application
While many immigration lawyers near Syracuse, NY offer free initial consultations, these free consultations often are too short to provide legal advice that matters for the specifics of your case. Your initial consultation includes a detailed review of all relevant paper work and individual, in depth attention to your questions and concerns.
Errors, even ones that seem small, in a naturalization application can delay your plans for years. Whether you haven’t started your application yet, or you’re already in the process and need professional guidance, contact today to schedule your consultation.
Don’t Get Delayed. Schedule A Consultation Today.
Becoming a US citizen isn’t easy. There are a lot of requirements that need to be met to be eligible for US citizenship. While free initial consultations typically don’t provide the attention, time and care needed to provide meaningful legal advice, Ms. Moon's no obligation initial consultation provides an in depth review of all paperwork related to citizenship status.
For an initial consultation that gives meaningful guidance on what comes next, contact today.