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