Who is Eligible
A person must first become a legal permanent resident, and then, subsequently apply for citizenship.
- Be of the minimum required age (typically, at least 18)
- Continuously and physically live in the United States as a green card holder for a certain number of years
- Establish residency in the state or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) district where they intend to apply
- Have “good moral character”
- Be proficient in basic spoken and written English and demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government
- Register for military service (if a male of a certain age) and be willing to perform civil service when required
- Swear allegiance to the United States
An applicant must show that he or she resided in the United States for at least five years prior to the application (in the case of an applicant by marriage, only three years). It must be shown that at no point the residency was abandoned.
The legal permanent resident must not leave the united states for more than 180 days (six months) without a special permit or residency may be abandoned. It is important to note that only trips outside of the United States for more than 24 hours count.
Selective Service Requirements
A male between the ages of 18 and 26 years old must register for the United States selective service. Failure to register is considered evidence of not meeting the good moral character requirement.
Members of the United States armed forces have certain benefits and relaxed residency requirements when applying for citizenship. It is important that active duty service members consult with an immigration attorney before applying for citizenship.