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Date Added: 11/09/2017 US Naturalization Guide
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Naturalization: Becoming a U.S. Citizen

The process of becoming a U.S. citizen is called naturalization. In general, you can apply for naturalization once you meet the following requirements:

Requirements for Naturalization

  1. Continuous residence: Live in the United States as a permanent resident for a specific amount of time.
  2. Physical presence: Show that you have been physically present in the United States for specific time periods.
  3. Time in state or USCIS district: Show that you have lived in your state or USCIS district for a specific amount of time.
  4. Good moral character: Show that you have behaved in a legal and acceptable manner.
  5. English and civics: Know basic English and information about U.S. history and government.
  6. Attachment to the Constitution: Understand and accept the principles of the U.S. Constitution.


You may qualify for certain exceptions and modifications if:

●    You are a U.S. national;

●    You are employed abroad in a qualifying category;

●    You have qualifying military service; or

●    You are the spouse, child, or parent of certain U.S. citizens.

Consult Form M-476, A Guide to Naturalization, for more information at US Green Card Service Organization You may also wish to consult an immigration attorney or BIA-accredited representative. See page 21 for more information.


1.  Continuous Residence

Continuous residence means that you must live in the United States as  a permanent resident for a certain period of time. Most people must be

permanent residents in continuous residence for five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen) before they can begin the naturalization process.

The date you became a permanent resident (usually the date on your Permanent Resident Card) is the date your five years begins. If you leave the United States for a long period of time, usually six months or more, you may break your continuous residence.

If you leave the United States for one year or longer, you may be able to  return if you have a re-entry permit. You should apply for this re-entry permit before you depart the United States. See page 17 for information on how

to apply for a re-entry permit. In most cases, none of the time you were in   the United States before you left the country will count toward your time in continuous residence. This means that you will need to begin your continuous residence again after you return to the United States, and you may have to wait up to four years and one day before you can apply for naturalization.

Additionally, if you must leave the United States for certain employment purposes, you may need to file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, in order to preserve your status as a permanent resident in order to pursue naturalization.

Be aware that absences from the United States while your naturalization application is pending could cause problems with your eligibility, especially if you accept employment abroad.


Maintaining Continuous ResidenCe as a PeRManent Resident

If you leave the United States for:

Your residence status is:

To keep your status you must:

More than six months


Possibly broken

Prove that you continued to live, work, and/or have ties to the United States (for example, paid taxes) while you were away.

In most cases, you must begin your continuous residence over.

Apply for a re-entry permit before you leave if you plan to return

More than one year

Broken

to the United States as a permanent resident. You may also

need to file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for

Naturalization  Purposes.


2.  Physical Presence

Physical presence means that you actually have been present in the United States. If you are a permanent resident, you must be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months during the last five years (or 18 months during the last three years, if married to a U.S. citizen) before you apply for naturalization.


3. Time in State or USCIS District

Most people must live in the state or USCIS district where they apply for naturalization for at least three months. Students can apply for naturalization either where they go to school or where their family lives (if they depend on their parents for support).

4.  Good Moral Character

To be eligible for naturalization, you must be a person of good moral character. A person is not considered to be of good moral character if he or she commits certain crimes during the five years before applying for

naturalization, or if he or she does not tell the truth during the naturalization interview.


If you commit some specific crimes, you can never become a U.S. citizen and will probably be removed from the country. These crimes are called bars to naturalization. Crimes called aggravated felonies (if committed on or after November 29, 1990), including: murder; rape; sexual abuse of a child; violent assault; treason; and illegal trafficking in drugs, firearms, or

people are some examples of permanent bars to naturalization. In most cases, immigrants who were exempted or discharged from serving in the U.S. armed forces because they were immigrants and immigrants who deserted from the

U.S. armed forces are also permanently barred from U.S. citizenship.

You also may be denied citizenship if you behave in other ways that show you lack good moral character.

Other crimes are temporary bars to naturalization. Temporary bars usually prevent you from becoming a citizen for up to five years after you commit the crime. These include:

●    Any crime against a person with intent to harm;

●    Any crime against property or the government involving fraud;

●    Two or more crimes with combined sentences of five years or more;

●    Violating controlled substance laws (for example, using or selling illegal drugs); and

●    Spending 180 days or more during the past five years in jail or prison.

Report any crimes that you committed when you apply for naturalization. This includes crimes removed from your record or committed before your 18th birthday. If you do not tell USCIS about them, you may be denied citizenship and you could be prosecuted.

5.  English and Civics

In general, you must show that you can understand, read, write, and speak basic English. You must also have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as civics). You are required to pass an English and a civics test to prove your knowledge.

Many schools and community organizations help people prepare for their citizenship tests www.usa.gov 


You must be willing to support and defend the United States and its Constitution. You declare your attachment or loyalty to the United States and the Constitution when you take the Oath of Allegiance. You become a U.S. citizen when you take the Oath of Allegiance.

In certain circumstances, there can be a modification of the Oath of Allegiance. If you show that you have a physical or developmental disability that makes you unable to understand the meaning of the Oath, it can be waived.

If you have a pending naturalization application and you move, you must notify USCIS of your new address. File Form AR-11, Change of Address, within 10 days of your relocation. 

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The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. The Department utilizes special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries. 

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** Please Note that ALL information on US Green Card Service websites, which you see in your native languages is a result of work, of third party translators from English to your native language. We apologize if you may find any discrepancy or mistakes in translation. Please help us to improve the accuracy of translation to you native language, by sending email from Contact Us page.

 

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