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Citizenship

Applicants may seek US citizenship (naturalization) through several possible avenues.  You may qualify for naturalization if:
  • You have been a permanent resident for at least five years and meet all other eligibility requirements;
  • You have been a permanent resident for three years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a US citizen; or
  • You have qualifying service in the US armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.
Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a US citizen, the child was born outside the US, the child is currently residing outside the US, and all other eligibility requirements are met. 
 
General Path to Naturalization
You can apply for US Citizenship if you have been a Lawful Permanent Resident (a Green Card holder) for 5 years or more (or 3 years or more if the Green Card was obtained through marriage to a US citizen), you pass the English and US history tests, you are a person of “Good Moral Character”, and you are willing to take the oath of citizenship.

Naturalization for Spouses of US Citizens
The spouse of a US citizen is issued a ‘conditional’ Green Card for a period of two years. At the end of this period, for the conditions to be removed, the marriage must still be ‘alive’. The couple must prove that they have been living together in the same home, share their financial assets, travel together and, if possible, have had children. Applicants must demonstrate that they did not enter into ‘fraud’ or ‘sham’ marriages for convenience only for the purpose of obtaining a green card.
 
In order to remove the condition on a Green Card, an applicant must file an application to lift the condition within a 90-day period prior to the expiration of the two-year period.  Thereafter, an applicant for citizenship may file an application for naturalization two years and nine months after receiving his or her lawful permanent status through marriage to a US citizen.

What are the benefits of United States Citizenship?
There are many benefits of US Citizenship. Here are some of the most important:

SECURITY:  You cannot be deported if you are a US Citizen.  You can be deported if you have only a Green Card, even if you have lived in the United States for many years.  When you leave the US, you cannot be denied re-entry into the US if you are a US Citizen.  You can be denied re-entry if you travel with only a Green Card.

TRAVEL: You can travel using a US Passport. You can visit most countries without a visa.  Additionally, US citizens who are traveling abroad may obtain assistance from a United States embassy.

EMPLOYMENT: There are many jobs for which you only can qualify if you are a US Citizen.  Many federal, state, and local government jobs require that you be a US Citizen.  Additionallty, many jobs in private business now require US Citizenship.

FAMILY: You can bring your family members to the United States more quickly if you are a US Citizen.  You can file to bring your husband or wife, fiance, children, parents, and sisters and brothers to the United States if you are a US Citizen.

VOTE: You can vote in elections if you are a US Citizen. 

GOVERNMENT BENEFITS: You may be eligible for government benefits, such as social security, once you are a US Citizen.