How to: Naturalization Guide


When I was young, my friends and I went through a phase in which we would make special “clubs” (read: groups). These clubs were exclusive, had secret handshakes and passwords, and were usually stationed in a fort constructed of pillows and blankets. This is a terrible analogy because becoming a US Citizen is nothing like that, save that there is a sense of pride and belonging that accompanies being a US citizen – especially when you weren’t born into it but yearned for it for years. Well… some of us have secret handshakes, but that’s just for fun and we’ll teach you if you ask. Becoming a part of the “club,” though, is much more complicated nowadays. Immigration legislation is vastly complex and people spend years studying its facets. Some such individuals are our highly skilled Los Angeles immigration lawyers and many in our firm specialize in naturalization, the application process through which individuals become US Citizens. If US citizenship has been a dream of yours for years and you’ve finally gathered enough courage to take the next step: contact our office and schedule a free case review. If you’re still anxious, contact us anyways. We employ incredibly talented individuals who are wholly dedicated to our clients, and we’d like the opportunity to assuage your fears.

There are a few exceptions, but on the whole people need to be permanent residents (usually for five years) before they can become US Citizens. We’ll talk more about exceptions to this generalization later on (the five years part, not the permanent resident part). For right now, though, if you’re not a permanent resident – that’s the first step! So contact our office and let us explore your options. There are many ways to become a US Citizen and we’d love to help you find the one that works best for you. Our Los Angeles immigration lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of immigration legislation – so give us a call!

All right, so what are the general requirements to apply for naturalization? Generally, you must:

  • Be eighteen years old (at least)
  • Be a permanent resident for at least five years (exceptions to come!)
  • Have a good moral character (there are a few questions the application asks – it’s not a difficult test)
  • Have a simple knowledge of the US government and the history of the US (again: it’s only a few questions easily answered – we’ll help you prepare!)
  • Have a period in which you continually resided and were physically present in the US
  • Be able to read, write, and speak simple English. There are exceptions to this rule for individuals that are advanced in age who have had permanent resident status for many years and for physically and mentally impaired individuals who cannot fulfill the requirements

If you have any questions, our Los Angeles immigration lawyers can tell you whatever you need to know!

All right: time for those exceptions I know you’ve been waiting for. You may also be eligible for naturalization if you are 18 or older, and have had permanent residency:

  • For at least 3 years and have been married to a US citizen for the entirety of that time
  • For at least 3 years and obtained permanent residency through a self-petition under VAWA
  • While serving (honorably) in the US military with at least 12 months of service (note: the application for naturalization must be filed while serving or within 6 months of discharge)

All right – that’s all I have room for. I’ve given you all the highlights, now come light up your future! Contact us today.

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