The most common path to U.S. citizenship, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) allows a green card holder (or permanent resident) of at least five years to apply for naturalization. That involves a lengthy form to be properly filled out and a process that needs to be successfully completed.
Though the process may be difficult hundreds of thousands of people are successful in becoming citizens. In 2014 653,416 people became naturalized citizens, according to the USCIS. In 2013 772,623 applications for citizenship were filed and 83,112 were denied, reports USCIS.
If you have been a green card holder for a minimum of five years, these are the requirements to apply for naturalization. You must,
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing,
- Have been a green card holder for at least five years immediately before the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization,
- Have lived in a state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence for three months or more before filing the application,
- Have continuously lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for five years or more immediately before the date of the application,
- Be physically present in the U.S. for thirty or more months of the five years immediately before the date of the application,
- Live continuously in the U.S. from the date of the application for naturalization to the time you are sworn in as a citizen,
- Be able to read, write and speak English,
- Have a working knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government (civics), and
- Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant times under the law.
Completing the N-400 form not only involves submitting information but documents as well. If the documents aren’t in English they need to be translated. The form is long (twenty pages) and complicated (the instructions are 18 pages long). For most applicants the total charge for applying is $680.
You will also need to,
- Include with the application two standard, passport style, color photographs.
- Get fingerprints taken. After your application is filed USCIS will inform you where and when to have your fingerprints taken.
- Pass the English and civics tests.
- Be interviewed by the USCIS, which will inform you where and when to appear. You will be asked questions about the information in your application and your background. USCIS will later inform you about the interview results. USCIS will grant, continue or deny your naturalization application after your interview.
- If your application for naturalization is approved you must attend a ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
USCIS has available a 58 page guide to naturalization that provides a wide range of information and details about the process.
If you are an immigrant living in Kentucky call CF Abogados today at (859) 971-0060 or fill out the online contact form if you have any questions about applying for citizenship or want help with the application or because your application was continued or denied.
Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton
Mr. Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law. He speaks Spanish, and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He began his career practicing criminal defense, and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status. [Attorney Bio]