Only US citizenship allows one to fully enjoy the rights and privileges offered by this country, including a right to vote and thus to participate in the democratic process. Due to all the benefits associated with becoming a US citizen, we encourage you to apply.
In order to qualify for US citizenship, one must satisfy a few requirements. This website contains only general information which applies to most applicants but not to all.
Basic requirements to apply for US citizenship:
- In most cases, you can apply for US citizenship after 5 years from the date you became a permanent resident. Persons who are married to US citizens can apply after 3 years provided that they are married to a US citizen spouse for 3 years and the US citizen spouse must be a US citizen for at least 3 years on the date of application. (Note: applications for naturalization can be submitted to the USCIS 3 months before the above deadlines).
- You also must document that you were physically present in the US for two and half years and, if you are applying based on the marriage to a US citizen, for one and half years.
- Persons who have been convicted of serious criminal offenses do not qualify for US citizenship. An applicant must establish that he or she is a person of good moral character. (Note: if you have ever been arrested, you must consult with an immigration attorney before submitting any application to the USCIS).
- You must have basic knowledge of US history and civics.
- You must demonstrate basic knowledge of English, both written and spoken.
- You must be 18 years or older.
Who can take naturalization exam in his / her native language?
Applicants who meet the following criteria, can take their naturalization examination in their native language:
- 50 years or older and green card for 20 years,
- 55 years or older and green card for 15 years,
- 65 years or older and green card for 20 years (simple form of the test)
Automatic citizenship for children
Law governing automatic acquisition of US citizenship is quite complex and has changed many times in the past years. The last change took place on February 27, 2001 (Child Citizenship Act of 2000).
Persons who turned 18 years old on February 27, 2001 or after this date become US citizens automatically if the following conditions are met:
- At least one parent is a US citizen;
- Child is under the age of 18 and is unmarried;
- Child lives in the US under custody of his / her US citizen parent;
- Child is a permanent resident.
Persons who turned 18 years old before February 27, 2001 become US citizens automatically if before turning 18: (1) one parent became a naturalized US citizen; (2) child was a permanent resident; (3) child was unmarried; AND:
- The other parent became a US citizen before the child turned 18; or
- If the child was born out of wedlock, its mother was a naturalized citizen; or
- The other parent of the child was deceased; or
- The parents are divorced and a naturalized parent had legal custody over the child.
The above information is not legal advice. In order to obtain legal advice, please contact immigration attorney Marcin Muszynski.