Naturalization is commonly referred to as the manner in which a person voluntarily becomes a United States citizen.
The process is started by filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Generally, for most people to be eligible to apply for naturalization they must be:
- at least 18 years old;
- a lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- residing “continuously” within the United States for at least five years as a lawful permanent resident (or at least three years if married to a United States citizen);
- physically present within the United States for at least 30 months of the necessary five years preceding filing the application for naturalization (or physically present within the United States for at least 18 months of the necessary three years if applying based on marriage to a United States citizen);
- residing within the State where they are applying for naturalization for at least three months prior to filing their application;
- continuously residing within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of citizenship;
- a person of good moral character and have an attachment to the principles of the Constitution;
- able to read, write, speak, and understand English; and
- able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the United States history and government.
While these 9 requirements apply to most people, exceptions to some of these requirements exist. For example, a person over 50 years old and has been a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years may not have to take the English language test.
People who have had any sort of conviction (regardless of how minor they think it is) should also make sure to thoroughly research how their conviction may impact their naturalization application before spending the money to apply. Some convictions will lead to automatic denials and some may even lead to deportation proceedings.
Please contact our office at 313-963-2505 if you would like assistance with applying for naturalization.