Time to Apply for U.S. Citizenship!

If you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) who is eligible to naturalize, and you want to become a U.S. citizen, now is the time to do it.  It’s an election year, and you could be eligible to vote if you naturalize.  USCIS does seem to make an effort to complete as many naturalization cases as possible in an election year in time for the new citizens to vote.  You won’t want to wait until it’s too late to make that voter registration deadline.

To qualify for naturalization, you must have held lawful permanent residence for at least five years, with two exceptions.  If you’ve resided continuously with your U.S. citizen spouse for three years, you can apply for citizenship after having had lawful permanent residence for three years instead of five.  If you were granted asylum and then got your green card, you can count one year of asylum status and four years of permanent residence.  Your green card will have a date on it that says “Resident Since,” which is the date USCIS will use to determine if you meet the three or five year requirement.

You must also have been physically in the U.S. for at least half of the past five (or three) years, and not have abandoned your residency.  The application will ask for each trip outside the U.S., the date you left, the date you returned, how many days you were out, the countries you went to, and if the trip lasted 6 months or longer.  If you do have longer trips, you will definitely want the assistance of an attorney to evaluate your case.

There are many questions on the 20-page form, and there are legal reasons for each question. We are happy to help you determine whether you may have any challenges and prepare your application. If you qualify and would like to become a U.S. citizen, now is a great time to do it!

**This notice is not intended to be an exhaustive review of all of the naturalization requirements; but only to share that those who qualify should consider doing it now.