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Are you eligible to naturalize?


Are you eligible to apply for citizenship? from Michael Boyle on Vimeo. 2 min.
Do you meet the minimum eligibility requirements for naturalization? Some of the requirements are easy to understand and measure, while others are more complicated and difficult to assess. This page of our site (and the next one, called “Should you apply?”) offer an introduction via written materials, podcasts or videos. If you hire us, an attorney will review your application, answer your questions, and help ensure that you meet the requirements to naturalize.

The basics

  • Are you 18, or older?
  • Have you been a permanent resident for five years? (Or three years, if you have been married to and living with your U.S. citizen spouse.)
  • Have you lived in the United States for at least half that time?
  • Can you get at least six answers right on the ten-question test about United States history and government that will be given during your interview?
  • Are you prepared to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States?

Other requirements are more complex or harder to measure

  • Do you read, write and speak English? Most applicants will need to understand and answer questions in English and to write one or two sentences in English. However, there are some exceptions and limitations to assist older or disabled applicants.
  • Have you “broken the continuity” of your residence by extended travel outside the United States? (Travel six months or more can lead to denial of your application; travel of over a year can result in losing your green card.)
  • Do you have good moral character? This term encompasses many problems. Some are obvious and easy to accept (no murders!), others are much less obvious and may or may not lead to denial of your application depending on when they occur.

While the materials on our site can be of value in educating yourself about the requirements for citizenship, an attorney can be a valuable guide in ensuring that you meet all the requirements to naturalize.

Comments

Comment from frank agyeman
Time: June 17, 2008, 1:16 pm

can i file for my citizenship whilst my application to remove condition is still pending?

Comment from Attorney Michael Boyle
Time: June 18, 2008, 9:35 am

Yes. You can apply even though your I-751 has not yet been decided. However, your citizenship cannot be approved prior to your I-751 being decided. Some USCIS offices will interview you for both applications on the same day, others hold your citizenship application in abeyance until after the I-751 is done.

Comment from Yong Jo
Time: July 7, 2008, 1:04 pm

im thinking about applying for citizenship, but the information on my green card says female when i am a male, where can i find information on how to fix this>?

Comment from Attorney Michael Boyle
Time: July 7, 2008, 2:55 pm

You obtain a corrected green card using Form I-90, which you can download from the USCIS web site, http://www.uscis.gov. If you can show that USCIS made the error even though you gave them the correct information, you do not have to pay the filing fee. (For example, show that your forms said you were male, but USCIS ignored what you told them.) Otherwise the filing fee is $370.
If citizenship is your main concern, I would suggest applying even with the error on the green card. In my experience they will process the application despite the error.

Comment from Rosa
Time: July 7, 2008, 7:24 pm

hello i like to know if is some help for the person who do not speak english but she has almost six years of the resident card, what can we do

Comment from cywp1Michael
Time: July 17, 2008, 10:23 am

The best solution would be to work on your English. There is an exemption from the English requirement for an applicant who cannot learn because of a disability, but most green card holders need to have basic English to become citizen.

Comment from Delilah Mortell
Time: May 25, 2011, 5:53 pm

I have my resident card since 6/03/06. Can I apply now or do I have to wait until 6/03/11? How long does it take after I mail my application to get an interview?

Comment from Michael Boyle
Time: May 25, 2011, 7:02 pm

You can apply now. You can apply 90 days in advance of the fifth anniversary of your green card being approved. So you have been eligible to apply since March 5, 2011. Good luck!

Comment from Stephanie
Time: January 12, 2012, 4:50 pm

My boyfriend wants to apply for his citizenship after being a legal resident for almost 24 years now. I think he is going to be accepted. he works full time in social work and helps US citizens every day through his job, he has never been in trouble with the law, he is very proficient in English (both reading and writing), and has all of her paperwork collected. he is so discouraged because his brother who is also a Permanent Resident has had to undergo some more questioning and has even had to submit a DNA test. His brother has had trouble with the law in the past though. I think my boyfriend is over exaggerating but he thinks it’s all doom and gloom. If everything looks good on paper for him, what are the chances that they could deny him? Is it really that tricky or is he overreacting?

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