DETAILED LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. NATURALIZATION

Must have been a U.S. Permanent Residence for either 3 or 5 years:

If you have been a U.S. Permanent Resident for five years or more, then you are eligible to apply for U.S. Naturalization, also known as U.S. Citizenship. If you gained your permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, and you are still married to your U.S. Citizen spouse, you are eligible to apply for U.S. Naturalization after only three years as a U.S. Permanent Resident.

Must have Continuous Residence:

Continuous Residence means that you have not left the US for more than 183 days in row.

Must have Physical Presence:

You maintain physical presence in the US for the required period of time, which is normally for at least thirty months out of five years, or if you gained your U.S. Permanent Residence via marriage to a U.S. Citizen, AND you are still married to the U.S. Citizen, eighteen months out of three years.

Must have Time in State:

You must show that you have lived within a state where the application will be filed for at least 3 months before you file the application for naturalization.

Must be at least eighteen years old:

Many children become AUTOMATIC U.S. Citizens when one of their parents becomes a U.S. Citizen.

Must have Registered for the Selective Service (The Draft):

Male U.S. Permanent Resident and Unauthorized or Illegal Immigrants between the ages of 18 and 26 are REQUIRED to register for the Selective Service. Failing to do so on time can complicate your application for U.S. Citizenship and will require an additional letter from the Selective Service. If you lived in the U.S. without authorization, or became a U.S. Permanent Resident between the ages of 18 and 26, go to http://www.ssa.gov to register.

Must accept the principals of the U.S. Constitution

Must have a basic understanding of U.S. history:

There are many resources out there to help you study the actual questions that may be asked on the day of the interview. You may study the questions in your native language, to help learn the material, but you must of course respond in English at the interview. You must answer six out of 10 history questions correctly in order to have a passing score. Download the study guide on this site for a list of potential questions.

Must have basic English language skills:

The test of the English language skills is not as difficult as you might think. If you are reading this page in English and more or less understanding it, you will definitely pass the English portion of the test. Many of our clients are surprised by how easy the English portion of the test actually is on the day of the interview. On the day of the interview:

  • You must read one sentence out of three sentences correctly in English;
  • AND, you must write one sentence out of three sentences correctly in English.
  • Your ability to speak English is determined during the actual interview.
  • There are many study materials available, and yes, there is an app for this on the IPhone.

    Must have “good moral character” since becoming a U.S. Permanent Resident:

    If you have any arrests at all, you absolutely need to speak with an experience immigration attorney before applying for U.S. Naturalization.

    BARS TO U.S. NATURALIZATION

    WHAT WILL PREVENT YOU FROM EARNING THAT BLUE PASSPORT?

    We strongly advise that anyone considering applying for U.S. Citizenship, should consult with an experienced attorney. However, this advice becomes crucial for applicants with any criminal history whatsoever, even if you spent no time in jail.

    The following is a list of “sins” that will permanently prevent you from applying for U.S. Citizenship:

  • Committing an aggravated felony and other crimes, even some that are considered minor or misdemeanor crimes under State criminal laws.
  • Desertion (leaving without permission) from the U.S. Military or claiming exemption from having to serve in the military due to holding a passport from another country;
  • Anarchists, or membership or affiliation with any organization that is opposed to organized government or agrees with violence against government;
  • Communists, or membership or affiliation with a Communist or Totalitarian Party;
  • Final deportation orders or proceedings.
  • SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR APPLICANTS OVER AGE 65 THE 65/20 EXEMPTION

    The law provides for special consideration for applicants who are over the age of 65 and who have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years. This is called the 65/20 Exemption. These applicants are permitted to take the history test in any language they choose. They are also only required to study from a list of 20 questions (as opposed to the normal list of 100 questions). Click here for a study guide containing the list of twenty questions and valid answers. See our study guide link to the right.

    If you are considering applying for U.S. Naturalization, contact us for a consult. We can confirm for eligibility, determine the exact date you will be eligible to apply and provide you with a list of documents you need to begin collecting.

    I DID NOT REGISTER FOR THE SELECTIVE SERVICE!

    What is the Selective Service?

    The Selective Service is a government agency tasked with providing “trained and untrained personnel to the Department of Defense in the event of a national emergency or and to be prepared to implement an Alternative Service Program for registrants classified as conscience objectors.”

    In short, the Selective Service collects the names and contact details of males aged 18 to 25, so that in the event of an emergency or draft, eligible males can be called to military or civil service on behalf of the U.S. Government.

    Who is Required to Register?

    If you are male and you are a U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident OR illegal immigrant between the ages of 18 and 25, you are REQUIRED to register for the Selective Service. If you hold valid nonimmigrant status, such as B tourist, H-1B, L-1 or TN worker or some other valid nonimmigrant status, you are not required to register. The Selective Service website states very clearly that YES, even unauthorized or illegal immigrants are required to register. The following text is from the Selective Service home page and can be found at http://www.sss.gov.

    ATTENTION, UNDOCUMENTED MALES & IMMIGRANT SERVICING GROUPS!

    “Selective Service does not collect any information which would indicate whether or not you are undocumented. You want to protect yourself for future U.S. citizenship and other government benefits and programs by registering with Selective Service. Do it today. If you are a man ages 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service. It’s the law.”

    I never registered and now I want to apply for U.S. Citizenship – what do I do?

    If you were required to register and failed to do so, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Prior to filing the application for U.S. Naturalization, we will recommend that you request and obtain a Status Information Letter from the Selective Service. Go to the Selective Service Administration for the application form and instructions from the Selective Service at http://www.ssa.gov.

    We can assist in preparing the Request for Status Information Letter as well as the actual Application for U.S. Naturalization.