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Generally, there are many benefits to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, but there are a few drawbacks that permanent residents should be aware of before submitting an application.


Some Benefits of Naturalization

  • Ability to petition for other relatives as an immediate relative.

  • The ability to reside outside of the U.S. without losing status.

  • The right to vote in U.S. elections

  • Eligibility for some government jobs requiring U.S. citizenship

  • Protection from loss of status for certain bad acts

Some Potential Drawbacks of Naturalization

  • Potential to lose benefits of citizenship under previous or original nationality

  • Being subject to a grounds of inadmissability that would be highlighted by a naturalization application.


How do I start the process?

There are several requirements that must be met before an LPR is qualified to apply for naturalization:

  1. You must have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years (or married to a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years).  Filing may commence up to 90 days before this residency requirement is met.

  2. You must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one-half of the 5 year (or 3 year) continuous residence requirement (in #1, above).

  3. You must have resided in the USCIS district where you will file your application for at least 3 months before you file.

  4. You must demonstrate that you have been a person of "good moral character" for the previous 5 years (or 3 years) period of permanent residency.

  5. You will be required to demonstrate English literacy and U.S. history knowledge.  There are many community classes to assist with preparation and/or Practice Civics Tests.


USCIS provides a Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet to help you decide if you are eligible to apply for naturalization.  If you have questions about your eligibility, please feel free to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney.

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