Citizenship and

/ Immigration overview

Permanent residents who desire to become U.S. citizens must go through the process known as naturalization. Typically, permanent residents need between three and five years of residency to become eligible. But the amount of time you have possessed a green card isn’t the only important factor. The government also considers how much time you’ve spent living in the U.S.


What is naturalization?

The process of becoming a citizen if you were not born in the U.S. is called naturalization.

What are the important reasons to consider U.S. Citizenship?

Citizenship offers many benefits and equally important responsibilities. Some of the benefits are the following:
  • Right to vote. Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens;
  • Right to serve on a jury. Only U.S. citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to U.S. citizens. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens;
  • Right to Travel with a U.S. Passport;
  • Right to obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age. In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen;
  • Right to Apply for federal jobs. Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship;
  • Right to keep your residency. A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.

What are the requirements for Citizenship?

As per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), eligibility requirements for naturalization include:
  • A minimum of 18 years of age at the time of application filing;
  • Lawful permanent resident for five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen;
  • Continuous residential and physical presence in the U.S.;
  • The ability to read, write, and speak basic English;
  • Good moral character;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • Demonstrate loyalty to the U.S. Constitution principles;
  • Willingness to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Are there exceptions to the English and civics naturalization requirements?

For older candidates, the English language requirement is modified. That is true if the applicant is at least 50 years old and has had permanent residence status for a minimum of 20 years. Those aged 55 and up must be permanent residents for at least 15 years.

For those 65 and older, there are modifications to passing the U.S. history test. There are no exemptions or modifications for younger candidates.

You are also exempt from the English and civics requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment. To request this exception, you submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions.

What if I serve in the United States military?

Non-citizens who serve in the United States military may obtain citizenship more quickly than non-military members. Individuals who serve during peacetime may apply for citizenship within one year and those who serve during periods of hostilities may apply for citizenship at any time.

What is the process of naturalization?

Here is a general overview of the naturalization application process.

First, you need to complete and file an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Second, you need to attend a biometrics appointment and submit your fingerprints for a criminal background check.

Third, you need to attend an interview and pass the civics and English test including speaking, reading, and writing (unless you fall under one of the exceptions).

Finally, after your application is approved, you will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a United States Citizen.

What if my application is denied?

If you receive a letter denying your application, you can request an appeal. You must make the appeal within 30 days of receiving your letter. If you don’t want to appeal, you can choose to re-apply.

How Kananchuk Law Office can help you with your Naturalization Process?

Becoming a U.S. citizen is not always an easy process. We will assist you in filling out Form N-400 and explain all citizen requirements and determine whether you meet the eligibility standards. We can prepare you for the interview and accompany you. Kananchuk Law Office will guide you through every step of naturalization and aim to make the process go as smoothly as possible for you.

Contact our citizenship attorney at Kananchuk Law Office and schedule a consultation to discuss your case today.

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