Lawful Permanent Residents who have maintained their LPR status for five (5) years may be eligible to apply for citizenship through a process called naturalization. LPRs who received their residence based on marriage to a U.S. citizen may apply for naturalization after three (3) years, so long as they have continuously resided with their U.S. citizen spouse during the three (3) year period immediately preceding the submission of their application, and continue to reside with their U.S. citizen spouse throughout the naturalization process.

Those who are eligible to apply for naturalization may submit their applications up to three (3) months before their three (3) or five (5) year anniversary of becoming an LPR.

In order to qualify for naturalization, individuals must also meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must be at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of filing;
  • Applicants must prove continuous residence in the United States;
  • Applicants must have no absences of more than six (6) months and under one (1) year;
  • Applicants must prove physical presence in the United States for at least thirty (30) months out of five (5) years or eighteen (18) months out of three (3) years;
  • Applicants must reside within the state or USCIS jurisdiction where the application will be filed for at least three (3) months preceding the filing of the application; and
  • Applicants must demonstrate good moral character during the five (5) or three (3) years before filing the application. Additionally, all applicants who file their application for naturalization will be required to attend an interview before USCIS. During that interview, applicants must pass an English and U.S. civics exam (which can be waived under limited circumstances).

Derived or Acquired Citizenship

Individuals who are born abroad may derive or acquire citizenship through their parents or grandparents. Whether an individual has derived or acquired citizenship depends on many factors including, but not limited to: your date of birth, whether one or both of your parents was a U.S. citizen, the length of time your U.S. citizen parent resided in the United States before the child’s birth. A determination as to whether an individual has derived or acquired citizenship should be evaluated on a case by case basis. If you think you may have derived or acquired citizenship, please contact Spahn Law Firm for a consultation.

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