Naturalization Ready: Requirements to Become a US Citizen


statue-of-liberty-828665_640With the recent elections, many lawful permanent residents are scurrying to “make it official” and become a naturalized citizen.

The protection and benefits of naturalizing are certainly worth attempting to start the process. (Plus application fees for the N-400 are schedule to increase by December 23, 2016.) As a US citizen you are granted a permanent right to reside in the U.S. without the worry of losing it if, for instance, you engage in certain criminal activity. So who’s eligible to apply for Naturalization (N-400 Application for Naturalization)?

Age Requirement

The applicant must be least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces).

Permanent Residence

 The applicant must have been lawfully admitted as a U.S. permanent resident.

Five-Year / Three-Year Residence in the United States

After becoming a lawful permanent resident and immediately before filing an application for naturalization, the alien must have “resided continuously within the U.S. for at least five years. The residence requirement is three years for applicants that are married and living with a U.S. citizen.

Residence after Application

In addition to the 5-year / 3-year U.S. residence requirement, the applicant must maintain continuous U.S. residence from the time of the application until they are admitted as a U.S. citizen.

Physical Presence

Prior to the time the application is filed, the applicant must have been physically present in the US for at least one-half of the five or three years of continuous residence.

 Residence in a DHS District

The applicant must have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing.

 Good Moral Character

The applicant must show that for at least the 5-year/3-year period of required continuous residence, they were a person of good moral character.

 Attached and Well-Disposed

The applicant must demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

English Literacy and Knowledge of History and Government

The applicant must demonstrate that he/she is able to read, write, and speck English in simple words and phrases. The applicant must also demonstrate his knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the U.S.


About Johanna Leonidas

Johanna Leonidas is managing attorney at J. Leonidas Law LLC. She can be reached at johanna@jleonidaslaw.com. No content on this blog should be deemed legal advice, nor does content create an attorney-client relationship. Please seek professional legal advice since this blog is for informational purposes only.

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