Becoming a citizen of the United States is the dream of many hopeful foreign nationals. They come to America seeking freedom, jobs and a better way of life.
Unfortunately, immigration and naturalization laws are lengthy and complicated — and not just everyone qualifies to become a naturalized citizen. To determine if you may apply for citizenship, it’s important to know the eligibility requirements. Let’s look at a couple.
Those seeking to become naturalized citizens must spend five years or more living in the U.S. To be clear, the five-year continuous residence requirement means you did not leave the U.S. and stay absent for six months or longer.
Those married to and residing with a U.S. citizen (as long as that person has been a citizen for at least three years) may apply sooner than typical single adults. After three years of marriage and residency, you are free to apply.
As you might expect, applicants who meet other eligibility criteria (like continuous residency) must be at least 18 years old to apply for citizenship.
If you have children younger than 18 and would like to help them become citizens, you may apply for citizenship on their behalf. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers many educational resources for those wishing to apply for their kids.
While the USCIS does what it can to assist applicants seeking citizenship, legal guidance can also help you meet your goals. For example, it can help to ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines or leave out any necessary documentation that the USCIS may need.