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Q&A - Citizenship Application Common Questions

What are the Basic Requirements set by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for Filing for Naturalization/Obtaining US Citizenship?

The Statute of Law provides that in order to file an application for Naturalization/to obtain US Citizenship, an applicant must:

  • Be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or Green Card Holder, with the exemption if this person served in a war for the US
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a Resident continuously for 5 years, subsequent to LPR Status. If married to a US Citizen, the Residency requirement is only 3 years
  • Be of Good Moral Character
  • Have resided in the State or USCIS District where the application is filed for at least 3 months
  • Be physically present in the US for at least one half of the 5 years (or one half of the 3 years, in cases involving a US Citizen spouse)
  • Not be absent from the US for a continuous period of more than 1 year during the period for which continuous Residence is required
  • Have knowledge of the English language and the ability to answer basic questions on US History and Government

What is the processing time for USCIS to issue a biometrics/fingerprint appointment notice?

Citizenship processing times vary widely depending on the location where the Applicant lives. Delays in the issuance of Biometric/Fingerprint Appointment Notices are not uncommon. It is generally a good idea, however, to check the status of the case by calling the National Customer Service Center toll-free number at (800) 375-5283 or by scheduling an Infopass appointment to visit your local immigration office.

I have been a Citizen of the United States for the past 10 years; my wife is currently a Lawful Permanent Resident, when can she apply for US Naturalization?

A Permanent Resident or Green Card Holder may apply for US Citizenship after maintaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status for 3 years if she/he is currently married to and living with their US Citizen Spouse who initially petitioned them. Most other Lawful Permanent Residents are required to hold Permanent Resident Status for 5 years in order to file for US Citizenship.

I am currently a Green Card holder and I have applied for Naturalization through the N-400 Application process, but I am moving soon. How do I notify USICS of my new address?

Address changes for Lawful Permanent Residents with pending Naturalization applications are made through the National Customer Service Center toll-free number at (800) 375-5283. It is also necessary to file Form AR-11, Change of Address. Form AR-11 can be processed online at USCIS.gov or by downloading the Form and mailing directly to USCIS.

My husband and I plan to return to our home country when we finish our University degree programs. If our US-born Child lives broad until adulthood will he still hold US Citizenship?

If a child is born as a US Citizen he/she will remain a US Citizen even if he/she obtains a Foreign Passport. If the Foreign Government also considers him or her to be a citizen of that country, then it is necessary for her/him to choose nationality upon reaching the age of 18. If that US Citizen Child turns 21 and is still unmarried, he/she will be eligible to Petition USCIS to obtain Permanent Resident Green Cards for the parents, as well. Only an affirmative act, such as renouncing the US Citizenship, would cause the child's status as a US Citizen to end. Such an affirmative act of renouncement would be if he/she, upon becoming an adult, went to the US Embassy and declared a desire to relinquish their US Citizenship.

I am a Lawful Permanent Resident and I am waiting for my US Citizenship interview. When can I petition for US Citizenship for my child (a Lawful Permanent Resident)?

A minor, Lawful Permanent Resident child, who resides with his/her parent, becomes a US Citizen upon the Naturalization of one parent. In order for a person to apply for US Citizenship in his/her own right, based on holding Permanent Resident Status for 5 years, he or she has to be at least 18 years old.

In order to know what options are available to you and to obtain specific advice based upon the facts of your case, you can contact our Immigration Attorney for a free consultation.

Does serving in the United States Military help to obtain US Citizenship sooner?

If a Lawful Permanent Resident has been honorably serving, or has honorably served, in the US Military for at least one year, he/she may be eligible to apply for US Citizenship. Also, if one has fought for the United States during a period of active hostilities, he/she may be able to file for US Citizenship directly, without ever having been a Lawful Permanent Resident of the US. It is advisable to discuss these matters with an immigration attorney, if you have any additional questions after reading this article, contact our office for a free consultation.

If a US Citizen applies to become a citizen of another country, must he or she relinquish US Citizenship? If not, what are the conditions? What about Dual-Citizenship?

If one becomes a Citizen of another country, then the United States may consider that person to no longer be a US Citizen. Incidentally, the same is not necessarily true the other way around. If a Citizen of another country becomes a US Citizen, the individual's home country may still consider him/her to be a Citizen, depending upon the laws of that country.

There are situations in which the US may recognize Dual-Citizenship. For example, a person may have acquired US Citizenship through a parent and still be a Citizen of another country. Instances of Dual-Citizenship generally pertain to Citizenship-by-birth; not when the US Citizen naturalizes in another country.

My wife and I would like to live overseas for a few years. She will be a Naturalized US Citizen, what are the restrictions for Naturalized Citizens living abroad?

Under current US Immigration Law there is no restriction on where a US Citizen may live. Living in another country is not a ground for loss of US Citizenship.

I am planning to file for US Naturalization and would like to legally change my name; can I do this in the process of becoming a US Citizen, or do I need to file separately?

When filing for US Citizenship, Form N-400, Application for Naturalization specifically asks whether one wishes to change his/her name and allows for concurrent approval of the name change once the application if processed. There is no additional fee for this.

For more information and advice on immigration issues

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