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Becoming a United States Citizen

Who is Eligible to Apply for Citizenship?

The process of becoming a citizen of the United States is called naturalization. Generally, if you meet the requirements below, you may apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

*You may become a U.S. citizen if you are:

  • At least 18 years old
    • held green card for 3 years if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, or
    • held green card for 5 years if you obtained your green card through another method
  • A lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States for at least 5 years
  • Resident and physically present in the United States for at least 5 years at the time of application
    • during which time you did not take any trips abroad for more than 6 months, and were present in the United States for not less than half of the entire period (meaning 2 ½ years)
  • Of good moral character

*A few special exceptions to the requirements listed above. Your attorney can explain these to you.

Assuming you are eligible, what are the benefits of U.S. citizenship?

  1. Right to apply for family members to join you in the US
  2. Right to vote and right to sit on a jury
  3. Eligibility for certain state and federal jobs
  4. Protection from deportation
  5. Less restrictions on travel and easier re-entry with a U.S. passport
  6. Full protection of U.S. Constitution and law

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