Do I qualify for citizenship?

To Qualify for American citizenship you must, first, fulfill the following conditions:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Individuals admitted as permanent residents will be asked to produce an I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card, as proof of their status.

In addition the applicant must meet the following requirements:

Physical Presence

You are qualified to file for citizenship if, immediately before the filing, you:

  • Have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence
  • Have resided continuously as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 years before filing without a single absence from the United States of more than one year
  • Have been PHYSICALLY PRESENT in the United States for at least 30 months out of the previous five years. Absences of more than six months but less than one year shall disrupt the applicant’s continuity of residence unless the applicant can establish that he or she did not abandon his or her residence during such period.
  • Have resided within a state or district for at least three months

Good Moral Character

An applicant must prove that he or she has been a person of good moral character for during her or his period of permanent residence. As well, any conviction for murder or serious criminal act disqualifies the applicant. You may be found to be a person lacking good moral character if, during the last five years, you:

  • Have committed and been convicted of one or more crimes
  • Have committed and been convicted of 2 or more offenses for which the total sentence imposed was 5 years or more
  • Have committed and been convicted of any controlled substance law (drugs), except for a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana
  • Have been confined to a penal institution during the years of your permanent residence, as a result of a conviction, for an aggregate period of 180 days or more
  • Have committed and been convicted of two or more gambling offenses
  • Have earned and earn your principal income from illegal gambling
  • Have been involved in prostitution or commercialized immoral act
  • Have been or are involved in smuggling illegal aliens into the United States
  • Have been a habitual drunkard
  • Are practicing or have practiced polygamy
  • Have intentionally failed or refused to support dependents
  • Have given false testimony, under oath, in order to receive a benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Note: Including above, the applicant must disclose all relevant facts to the USCIS, including any criminal history, regardless of whether the criminal history disqualifies you from obtaining citizenship.

Attachment to the Constitution

You must demonstrate that he or she is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.

Language

As an applicant for naturalization, you must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language.

Exceptions

Some applicants are exempt from the language requirement. They are those who on the date of filing:

  • Have been residing in the United States following a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 15 years or more and are over 55 years of age
  • Have been residing in the United States following a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 20 years or more and are over 50 years of age, or
  • Have a medically determinable physical or mental disability that affects their ability to learn English.

United States Government and History Knowledge

The Applicant is also expected to possess good knowledge and understanding of the basic history, principles, and form of government of the United States.

Exceptions

Applicants, on the date of filing, have medically determined physical or mental disability that affects their ability to learn US history or of its government are exempt from this requirement.

Special consideration will also be given to applicants who have been residing in the U.S. following a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least 20 years and are over the age of 65.

Oath of Allegiance

In order to be considered for a US citizenship, you must take the oath of allegiance. When you do this you swear to:

  • Support the Constitution and obey the laws of the U.S.
  • Discontinue any foreign loyalty and/or foreign title
  • Enlist for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government of the U.S. when required.

Note: In certain instances, the USCIS will allow modify the oath if the applicant establishes that he or she is opposed to any type of service in armed forces based on religious teaching or belief.

Posted in: Citizenship FAQ