Naturalization is the process by which foreign nationals are granted U.S. citizenship. Citizenship allows individuals to vote in both state and federal elections, to hold elected office, and work for the federal government. Citizens are also non-deportable, with minor exceptions.
To qualify for naturalization, you must meet the following general requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years of age;
- You must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing your naturalization application OR for at least 3 years for some individuals;
- You must have continuous residence in the U.S. for at least 5 years (or 3 years for some individuals) immediately preceding your application
- You must have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the past 5 years, or 3 years for some individuals;
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (i.e., pass a civics test);
- Be a person of good moral character; and
- Demonstrate an understanding and belief of the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
For some individuals, the decision about whether or not to naturalize is easy. For others with a criminal history, a record of significant travel into and out of the country, or even issues as seemingly minor as child support arrears may not be advised to file for naturalization.
It is important to discuss your immigration status with a qualified immigration attorney. Call (651) 756-8781 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free half hour consultation.