Naturalization is a process by which lawful permanent residents becomes a U.S. citizens.
A lawful permanent resident who is at least 18 years of age and meets the residence and physical presence requirements can apply for naturalization. The applicant must also meet literacy and knowledge requirements, have good moral character, agree with the principles of the U.S. Constitution, and take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Residence and Physical Presence Requirements:
1. Has continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years after being admitted as a lawful permanent resident;
2. Has been physically present in the United States for at least half of the 5 years prior to filing; and
3. Has resided for at least 3 months within the district in which he or she filed the application.
Three-year Filing Exception:
An applicant may apply for naturalization three months before the 3rd anniversary of the date he or she received lawful permanent residency if s/he:
1. Has continuously resided as a lawful permanent resident for at least 3 years prior to filing,
2. Has been physically present in the US for at least half of the 3 years prior to filing,
3. Has been living for at least 3 years in marital union with the spouse who has been a U.S. citizen for at 3 years prior to the filing, and
4. Has resided for at least 3 months within the district in which he or she she filed the application.
The 3-year exception also applies to certain spouses and children who obtained permanent residency through a VAWA-self petition due to battery or extreme cruelty.
Military Service Abroad:
An applicant who served for three years in the US military and who is a lawful permanent resident is excused from any specific period of required residence, period of residence in any specific place, and physical presence within the United States if an application for naturalization is filed while the applicant is still serving or within six months of an honorable discharge.
To be eligible for these exemptions, the applicant must prove that he or she:
* served honorably or separated under honorable conditions;
* completed three years or more of military service;
* is a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination on the application; or
* has a good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable.
Individuals who file for naturalization more than six months after termination of three years of service in the U.S. military may count any periods of honorable service as residence and physical presence in the United States.
Other Special Considerations for Veterans who Served Honorably in Armed Conflict:
An applicant who served honorably during any of the following periods of conflict is entitled to certain considerations:
* World War I – 4/16/17 to 11/11/18;
* World War II – 9/1/39 to 12/31/46;
* Korean Conflict – 6/25/50 to 7/1/55;
* Vietnam Conflict – 2/28/61 to 10/15/78;
* Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm – 8/29/90 to 4/11/91; or
* any other period which the President, by Executive Order, has designated as a period in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with hostile foreign forces.
Applicants who have served during any of the aforementioned conflicts may apply for naturalization based on military service after qualifying service and the requirements for specific periods of physical presence in the United States and residence in the United States are waived.
Good Moral Character Requirement:
Generally, an applicant must show that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the relevant period before filing for naturalization.Although the immigration law specifically lists who does not have good moral character, this list is not exhaustive and the immigration agency can consider activities outside of this list or that occur prior to the relevant period of good moral character.
Unless the applicant has a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment, she must be able to understand simple English and be able to speak, read, and write it. The law waives the literacy requirement for an applicant who, at the time of filing, is:
1. Over the age of 50 and has been a lawful permanent resident living in the US for periods totaling at least 20 years prior to filing, or
2. Over the age of 55 and has been a lawful permanent resident living in the US for periods totaling at least 15 years prior to filing.
Unless the applicant has a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment, she must know the fundamentals of U.S. history, as well as the principles and form of government of the U.S.
The applicant will be asked (in English unless this requirement has been waived) up to ten questions about US history, principles, and government. The government publishes a list of 100 questions from which 10 will be asked. To pass, you must answer six of the ten questions correctly.
Examples of Civics Exam Questions:
1. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? The correct answer could be either "speech," "religion," "assembly," "press," or "petition the government."
2. We elect a President for how many years? The correct answer is 4.
3. What is the captial of the United States? The correct answer is Washington, D.C.
Please contact Wilson Law Group to discuss your eligibility for naturalization and review your particular situation.