The decision to apply for citizenship is an important and very serious one. U.S. citizenship carries many responsibilities with it. The process of applying for U.S. citizenship is known as naturalization. In most cases, a person who wants to naturalize must first be a permanent resident. By becoming a U.S. citizen you gain many rights that permanent residents or others may not have, including the right to vote. In order to be eligible for naturalization, you must first meet certain requirements required by U.S. immigration law.
Generally, to be eligible for naturalization you must:
■ Be age 18 or older: and
■ Be a permanent resident for a certain amount of time(5 years or 3 years in certain circumstances): and
■ Be a person of good moral character; and
■ Have basic knowledge of U.S. government (this, too, can be excepted due to physical or mental impairment)
■ Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; and
■ Be able to read, write and speak basic English. There are exceptions to this rule for someone who at the time of filing;
● Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years; or
● Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or
● Has a physical or mental impairment that makes them unable to fulfill these requirements
The main categories of persons who are eligible to apply for naturalization include the following:
■ Permanent resident of the United States for at least five years; or
■ Permanent resident for at least three years during which time you have been married to and living in marital union with a U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years unless you obtained permanent residency as the spouse of a U.S. citizen who battered or subjected you to extreme cruelty. In which case you are not required to have been living in marital union with that U.S. citizen for three years; or
■ Permanent resident with honorable service in the U.S. military.
Before you apply for naturalization you must reside.
To apply for naturalization, you would file a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. For More Information, Please Contact:
Fresno Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim