Can I become a U.S. Citizen?

Question: What are the basic elements of becoming a Naturalized Citizen?

Answer: The basic requirements are:
1. You must be 18 years old and be a Lawful Permanent Resident;
2. You must meet the continuous physical presence requirements;
3. You must have good moral character; and
4. You must demonstrate knowledge of the English language

Question: How long do I have to be a resident to be able to apply for naturalization?

Answer: You must generally be a continuous resident for 5 years subsequent to LPR status

Question: How long must I be physically present in the U.S. during the 5 years after residency?

Answer: You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least one-half of the 5 years (or one-half of 3 years if the applicant is the spouse of a USC).

Question: If I married a USC, do I stil need to await 5 years to apply for naturalization?

Answer: If married to a USC the residency requirement is 3 years if: (i) the USC spouse is a USC for three years; and (ii) the parties have been “living in marital union” for 3 years. A divorce, legal separation, or even an informal separation may signify dissolution of the marital union. “Living in marital union” has been interpreted to mean actually residing together.

Question: Can I leave the U.S. after I file the Naturalization, but before the interview?

Answer: You must Reside Continuously in the U.S. From the Date of Filing the Application to Admission to Citizenship

Question: Can a Conditional Resident apply for Naturalization?

Answer: A Conditional Permanent Resident may be eligible for citizenship if s/he has accrued the requisite residence period even if s/he has not had her conditional residency lifted.

Question: How long must I be physically present in the U.S. during the 5 years after residency?

Answer: You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least one-half of the 5 years (or one-half of 3 years if the applicant is the spouse of a USC).

Question: If I received my residency under VAWA for being a battered spouse, do I still need to await the 5 years before becoming a Citizen?

Answer: A spouse or child who obtained LPR status because of battering or extreme cruelty may also apply for citizenship within a 3-year period. The 3-year marital union requirement is waived. The requirement that a child be defined as a “child” under the INA at the time s/he became an LPR is also waived, but the requirement that the child be at least 18 to petition is not waived.

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Can I become a U.S. Citizen