Before becoming naturalized as a citizen of the United States, individuals need to meet the requirements. There are a few different requirements that could be met in order for the individual to qualify. Some individuals can qualify if they have lived in the U.S. for the past five years with a permanent residence status. Another option allows for immigrants to have lived in the country for four years due to the need for asylum. If neither of these seem to fit your situation, there are more ways to qualify. If you have lived in the U.S. for three years as a spouse to a U.S. citizen, then you are eligible to apply for naturalization. If you have lived in the U.S. for three years, are a lawful permanent resident and have served in the military, you have the opportunity to apply for naturalization as well.

What steps are involved in the process?

After meeting one of the requirements, there are a few steps before you are named a citizen of the U.S. You will need to satisfy a residential and physical presence. This requires you to prove that you have a continuing presence in the U.S. in the form of residential status. It is important to remember that any absences from the country for six months or more can cause a major disruption with your continuing residency. However, if you can prove with evidence that you did not abandon your residence during this period of time, then you may still be eligible.

The next step will examine your moral character by demonstrating a good moral character. To prove this, they will look at your records of arrest. You cannot be convicted of a crime that involves murder, rape, assault or robbery. This will show that you go against the norms of society and are not a good candidate for citizenship. Many crimes involving drugs can also impact your eligibility.

Another requirement is to provide knowledge of the English language, U.S. history, government and to establish loyalty to the U.S. There can be some exceptions to this step. If you are 50 years old or older and have lived in the country for over 20 years or are 55 years old and have lived in the country for over 15 years, you can be exempt from the English language requirement. You still have to pass the civics test, but may do so in your native language.

The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please contact the office to discuss your circumstances and options.