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The Process of Becoming a Citizen in the USA - the Basics – Immigration Lawyer New York
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The Process of Becoming a Citizen in the USA - the Basics

By Michael H. Markovitch, Esq. on May, 21, 2014

Often clients contact my office with the following general questions regarding the process of becoming a naturalized American.


Question: What Are the General Naturalization Requirements?

Naturalization is the process a foreign citizen goes through to become a citizen of the United States. Certain requirements must be fulfilled in order to gain U.S. citizenship.


It is important to note that immigration is a highly individualized process, and approvals are granted on a case-by-case basis. You may have a special case that does not follow the general naturalization requirements, but may be considered with special exceptions or waivers.



You must be 18 years of age. Applicants less than 18 years old must follow procedures outlined for Naturalized Citizen's children.


You must be a permanent resident (obtained your green card) to be approved for citizenship.


Physical Presence
You must have 5 years as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. prior to filing, with no single absence from the United States of more than 1 year. You must have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the previous five years. If you've been away for more than 6 months but less than a year, you'll need to prove that you did not intend to abandon your U.S. residence during that period. If you gained your permanent residency through marriage then you must have 3 years as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. prior to filing.


Good Moral Character
You must show that you have been a person of good moral character. This includes your time within the U.S. as well as prior to coming here. However, if you've been granted permanent residence status, you can be reasonably certain that you've already proved good moral character for the period prior to coming to the U.S.
You must disclose all relevant facts including your criminal history, even if the crime is not the type that would count against your good moral character.


Attachment to the Constitution
You must show that you are "attached" or agree with and follow the principles of the U.S. Constitution.


English Language
You must be able to show that you can proficiently read, write and speak the English language.


U.S. Government and History Knowledge
You must pass the Naturalization exam, which tests your knowledge and understanding of the principles and government of the U.S.


Oath of Allegiance
The final step in becoming a U.S. citizen is taking the Oath of Allegiance.
For further information or questions you may have, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Markovitch.

Tags:  U.S citizen

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