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How Permanent Residents Apply for Citizenship

If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, citizenship will come with many opportunities, as well as responsibilities, but it’s a very exciting endeavor indeed!

Usually, immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens must first become a permanent resident (green card holder).

When you become a U.S. citizen, you will enjoy many rights that permanent residents and visa holders do not have, such as the right to vote in a presidential election. If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, first you will have to meet several requirements, which were established by U.S. law.

U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization

In the U.S., when an immigrant applies to be a U.S. citizen, this process is called “naturalization.” If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, you have to be eligible for the naturalization process. These requirements were set by U.S. immigration law.

To be eligible for naturalization, you must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A permanent resident for 3 or 5 years, depending on how you obtained your permanent resident status
  • A person with a good moral character
  • A person with basic knowledge of U.S. government
  • Living in the U.S. for a certain length of time
  • Able to read, write and speak English, unless you meet certain age requirements

When can I apply for naturalization? You can apply for naturalization if you are 18 or older, have been a permanent resident for 5 years, or 3 years if you have been married to a U.S. citizen, or if you honorably served in the U.S. military.

Note: under certain circumstances, eligible husbands and wives of U.S. citizens or members of the U.S. Armed Forces may be allowed to file for naturalization sooner than the 3 or 5 years mentioned above.

If you are interested in applying for permanent resident status or naturalization, please contact a Plano immigration attorney at our firm. Additionally, if you are a member of the military living in Texas and interested in U.S. citizenship, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance!