The Path to U.S. Citizenship

Are you thinking about becoming a United States citizen? If so, congratulations! The United States is a great country built by the enormous contributions of immigrants from all over the world and it welcomes you with open arms.

In order for most people to become a U.S. citizen, they must first obtain a Green Card and they must have their Green Card for five years before they can apply for naturalization. As a Green Card holder, the individual is referred to as a “permanent resident.” Once an immigrant receives a Green Card, they can lawfully live and work in the U.S.

It is very common for immigrants to obtain Green Cards through their employers and close relatives, but there are other ways as well. Two other common paths include immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens and immigrants who join the Armed Services.

Meeting the Eligibility Requirements

What does it take to meet the eligibility requirements to apply for naturalization? Once you have your Green Card for a minimum of five years, you will need to meet the following requirements if you wish to apply for citizenship:

  • You must be at least 18-years-old.
  • You must have had your Green Card for at least five years.
  • If you’re filing in Texas, you must have lived in the state for at least three months before you file an application.
  • You must have lived in the United States continuously as a Green Card holder for at least five years.
  • You must have been “physically” in the U.S. for a minimum of 30 months out of the five years immediately before you filed an application for citizenship.
  • You must live in the U.S. continuously from the date you apply for citizenship until the date you become a citizen.
  • You must be able to read, write and speak English.
  • You must have a basic understanding of U.S. history and civics.
  • You have to be a person of “good moral character.” If you have a criminal record, it could bar you from becoming a citizen depending on the facts of your case.

To learn more about the various paths to citizenship, including ones not discussed in this post, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to meet with a Plano immigration attorney.

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