Citizenship / Naturalization
The last stop for immigrants is U.S. citizenship. For many clients, citizenship represents the culmination of a long adventure through temporary visas, extensions of status, family or employer-based visa petitions, and permanent residence that requires patience, persistence, and, at times, providence.
While many consider U.S. permanent residence to be an end in itself, others recognize distinct advantages in becoming a U.S. citizen. These benefits include the ability to vote, bring family members to the U.S., hold a federal job, get a U.S. passport, qualify for certain public benefits, and live in another country without losing permanent residence.
Immigrants apply for citizenship through an application for naturalization that requires applicants to meet the following conditions:
- At least 18-years-old
- Permanent residence for at least five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen)
- Physical presence for at least one-half of the five (or three) years of continuous residence required;
- Residence in the jurisdiction of the USCIS office in which the application is filed for at least three months before filing
- Good moral character
- English literacy and knowledge of U.S. history and government
- Attachment to the Constitution and willingness to take the oath of allegiance
The naturalization process involves an application that is followed by a scheduled USCIS fingerprinting, a scheduled interview, and a scheduled swearing-in ceremony, and naturalization applications may be filed with USCIS up to 90 days before the end of the required five or three-year residency period.