Those who are valid green card holders, and have lived in the United States (US) as a lawful permanent resident for five years, are eligible to file a petition to be granted citizenship.  Moreover, those who are married to a US citizen and have had a green card for at least three years are also eligible to apply for citizenship.  Finally, those who have enlisted in the military, while residing in the US, and have served during times of war are eligible, even if they are not lawful permanent residents.   Each person must have the proper application (N-400), photographs, and specific supporting documents to complete the naturalization and immigration process.

Those who are applying for citizenship must also have basic knowledge about the US; that means, at a minimum:

  • Understanding the fundamentals of US history — in addition to a basic knowledge of history, applicants must also familiarize themselves with knowledge of the US government. US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will test applicants to ensure this knowledge. Tests may be done in writing or orally.
  • Ability to comprehend English — exceptions are made due to age, or disability but most applicants will need to have sufficient knowledge of English to pass a written test and a writing test.

There are other requirements including time in the US, no serious criminal charges during the last five years, good moral character, and a willingness to pledge their allegiance to the United States.

Another pathway is if you were born to a US parent abroad.  If so, then you can acquire citizenship.  Moreover, if you marry and have children, then your children may also acquire citizenship.  The laws have evolved over the years, but it is the law that was in effect at the time of the birth of a child that applies.  Therefore, if there is anyone in your direct line of ancestry that may have been a US citizen, this should be explored as you may have a pathway to citizenship.

Contact the Washington, D.C. Law Office of Bruce I. Yamashita, PLLC  for assistance with the application process, help preparing for your citizenship tests, and other facets of the citizenship process.

There was a time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play they tell me the days were sweet and clear
It was a sweeter tune, and there was so much room
That people would come from everywhere

– Neil Sedaka, from the song, The Immigrant