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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​  Naturalization and Citizenship 

There are 4 ways to obtain the U.S. citizenship: by birth in the U.S. or its territories (e.g., Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands); by birth outside of the U.S. to a U.S. parent; by naturalization; and ​by naturalization of a parent while a child is under the age of 18.


Naturalization is the main process for becoming a U.S. citizen. There are several eligibility requirements which must be met to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization:

  • must be 18 years of age or older;

  • must have resided continuously in the U.S. for 5 years as a lawful permanent resident or 3 years if based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen;

  • must have been present in the U.S. for at least half of the time during the 5 years or 3 years if based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen immediately prior to filing the petition, with some exceptions (an absence of more than 6 months but less than 1 year is permissible if the immigrant did not abandon the U.S. residence during such period, however an absence for 1 year or more breaks the continuity of residence at a matter of law);

  • must have resided in the district within which the petition is filed for at least 3 months;

  •  must be able to speak and understand simple English, as well as read and write it, with some exceptions;

  • must have a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history and principles and forms of the U.S. government (persons with qualifying disability are exempt from this requirement);

  • must be a person of good moral character (e.g., habitual drunkards, persons convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony, involved with prostitution, drug trafficking, or illegal gambling, or convicted and jailed for 180 days or more will not be considered persons of good moral character);

  • must be attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S.


​At Handy Legal Services, we can guide you through a complex process of naturalization and save you a lot of time and money. Call us now for a legal consultation. 386-248-3000

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