You may obtain United States citizenship either through birth or through naturalization. In fact, some people unknowingly are already United States citizens based on their birth to a United States citizen parent or parents, depending on various circumstances.
Naturalization is the process of obtaining citizenship after birth. Some of the requirements for an applicant to obtain United States citizenship through naturalization are as follows:
- Continuous, permanent residence in the USA (with a green card or immigration visa) for 5 years (sometimes less)
- Good moral character
- Age of 18 years or older unless adopted by a US citizen
- Ability to read, write, and speak English (waived for certain age groups and disabilities)
- Knowledge of US history and government
- Favorable disposition toward the US
- Attachment to the principles outlined in the US Constitution
When can I Obtain Citizenship Through Naturalization?
You may apply for naturalization after 4 years and 9 months (57 months) from the date you received your green card, or 2 years and 9 months (33 months) if you received your green card through marriage to a US Citizen or VAWA, or 3 years and 9 months (45 months) if you received your green card through Asylum. You must have been physically present in the US for 30 months or 18 months if you received your green card through marriage, just as long as you did not break continuity of your residence in the US.
Attorney’s Role in a Naturalization Case?
In a straightforward naturalization case where there are no complications, often people find that they may apply for naturalization without the help of an attorney. Some people still feel somewhat uncomfortable facing a USCIS officer alone, and would like someone to attend the interview with them. A naturalization applicant may only bring in an interpreter if necessary and an attorney. For some people, applying for naturalization might actually create problems, so in cases where there are complications (arrests/convictions, breaks in continuity), it is highly recommended that the case is at least reviewed by an immigration lawyer.
To discuss Naturalization with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Huang Law LLC, please feel free to contact us, call our Wilmington office at (302) 478-2900, or Philadelphia Office at (267) 908-5060.