Immigrants First - Citizenship and Naturalization

Legal Services


Citizenship & Naturalization

If you are a permanent resident (LPR or “green card
holder”), it is a good idea to seriously consider
becoming a United States citizen (USC) as soon as you
are eligible, especially if you intend to make the United
States your permanent home. Any status less than that of a
United States citizen makes you vulnerable to deportation,
especially for certain criminal offenses. In addition, the
United States recognizes dual nationality; so depending
upon the country that you are from, you and your family stand
to gain important benefits by you becoming a USC, without
giving up your prior citizenship.

Applying for citizenship is not without risks, however.
Those persons with a history that would call into
question their good moral character, including
failing to file taxes, failing to make consistent
child support payments, or even having a
record of minor criminal offenses, should
consult with an immigration lawyer prior
to applying for citizenship.

We have experience handling citizen
ship applications and giving advice,
especially to those persons with more
complex circumstances that jeopardize
their green-card status. We are happy to
help you through this final and
important immigration process.


To be eligible for citizenship, a person must:

  • Have been a LPR for at least 5 years or have been an LPR for at least 3 years and have been married to and living with the same U.S. citizen for the last 3 years and spouse has been a USC for the last 3 years. (There are several exceptions to the 5-year rule).

  • Have resided continuously as an LPR in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to filing (or 3 years as described above). Periods of absence less than 6 months and certain other absences can be excused, but counsel should still be sought, especially for longer absences than six months.

  • Have resided in the United States at least one half of the time of permanent residency. And applicants must reside for three months in the state of the USCIS district where the application filing.

  • Have demonstrated good moral character and basic knowledge of U.S. government and history by passing a civics test, and be able to read, write and speak simple English.

  • Be 18 years of age or older and possess the legal competence to take the citizenship oath.

  • Express allegiance to the United States government.

  • If a minor, be in the custody of at least one parent who becomes a citizen, which often confers automatic citizenship.