Applying for U.S. Citizenship has Important Advantages
February 1st, 2016
Who can apply for American Citizenship or naturalization and what are the requirements?
Applying for US Citizenship, also known as Naturalization has important advantages. US Citizens have the right:
- to vote,
- to apply for government jobs,
- to apply for resident status for more types of family members
- to remain outside the US for more than 180 days, AND
- to travel with an American passport, which provides entry without a visa into many countries.
US citizens may also petition for immediate family members through a faster petitioning process.
To be eligible to apply for American Citizenship, there are certain requirements that generally must be met:
The applicant must:
- Have been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years for spouses of United States Citizens)
- Be at least 18 years’ old
- Be of good moral character (not committed any serious crimes)
- Be able to speak, read, and write English (except certain applicants of an advanced age)
- Pass a test on U.S. history and government
- Have been physically present in the U.S. at least half the requisite time of residency (2.5 years if 5 years of residency are required, and 1.5 years if only 3 years of residency are required—the latter in the case of a spouse of a US citizen)
- AND must swear loyalty to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance.
Special eligibility requirements and exceptions
There are some different eligibility requirements for military personnel and their family members as well as for certain children of US citizens born outside the US. Also, if a child is under 18 and is a legal permanent resident and has a parent who is a US citizen or becomes one, then the child can apply for automatic Citizenship or Naturalization.
In addition to these general eligibility requirements, a person cannot have violated any of the conditions of their resident status (for example, they may not have been outside of the U.S. for more than 180 continuous days, etc.), with certain limited exceptions (General FAQs on US Immigration).
If you want legal representation from one of our experienced US Citizenship immigration lawyers in Boston, to prepare your Citizenship/Naturalization application, and you are in the Massachusetts or New England area, please contact our office to request an appointment at: (617) 303-2600.