Basic Eligibility Requirements for the Naturalization Process – 2017

Basic Eligibility Requirements for the Naturalization Process – 2017

Basic eligibility requirements for the naturalization process

There is a full array of factors to be considered in the process of eligibility for a US. Citizenship application. The first step in the process is to be a legal permanent resident (LPR) in the US. and be over the age of 18. There some exceptions to this process like serving in the US. Military during a time of war or Conflict, never the less the basic requirements are LPR and be over 18 years old. There are others exceptions but there will not be part of this publication.

Requirements of Legal Permanent Resident

To be eligible for the naturalization process, after your status in the US. is of a legal permanent residence, the applicant have to show a continuous residence in the US. Territory of a least (5) years before applying for the citizenship. This amount of time could be reduced to (3) years if the applicant is married to a US. Citizen or obtained the LPR by marriage and were abused and mistreated by their husbands. Aside of the exceptions the applicant to be eligible for the citizenship application must has been married to a US. Citizen for the period of (3) years. The applicant must be married and live in matrimony with their conjugal partner for at least (3) years, the conjugal partner have to have a US. Citizenship during at least the last (3) year. (in Broad terms conjugal living means living together). The (3) to (5) year period is known as the legal period and the residence have to maintain a continuous residence in the US. from the moment of the application submittal to the day of the swearing ceremony.

Physical Presence

Permanent residency does not mean that the applicant should continuously reside in the US. During the legal period. There are (3) essential requirements:

The first requirement is that the applicant must spend at least 50 % of the time in the US. During the legal period of (3) or (5) years. To determine eligibility, the applicant must review the amount of days that he/she has been in the Us in the past (3) or (5) years depending on your legal time. The amount of days that that the applicant was outside of the US during your legal period should not exceeded 50 % of the total days required for the application.

The second Requirement is that no one trip outside of the US. Should not be longer than (1) year, trips lasting a year reset the continuous residence process, a re-entry permits will not stop the reset of the process. If the applicant were to stay outside the US for a year or more, they will have to wait (4) years and (1) day to reapply. There are some exceptions the process like military service in a foreign country or the express permission to preserve their residency and their families’ during the period that that applicant is working outside the US. This requirements are submitted with the application and have to be preserve and follow until the swearing ceremony.

The third requirement is that the trips that are 6 months or more in length may qualify as interruption of the continuous residency requirement. This legal aspect of the process could be debated and supported with evidences that the applicant did not abandon their residency during the extended travel time.

The investigation into the extended absence of the applicant could be supported by income tax declarations, service contract to verify if the applicant has maintained a permanent hone in the US. And he/she is working outside the US. Or the reasons why the trip was so long and all the family bonds in the US. Some of these cases are more difficult or complex that the other but they could be resolve. Our Advice is that do not make trips of 6 months or more during any one-year period, this will avoid any circumstances that could affect your process for good. These requirements are submitted with the application and have to be preserve and follow until the swearing ceremony.

State Residency

The applicant has to maintain residency in one state at least (3) months before they are eligible to apply in the same jurisdiction. Proof of residency could be establish with a valid driver’s license or picture ID, copy of the lease, banks accounts and similar documents. If the applicant cannot show proof of residency the application will be denied by USCIS.

Good Moral Character

Each applicant for naturalization have to stablish and maintain a good moral character during the legal period This requirement have to be preserve and followed until the swearing ceremony. The USGIS will look at your application and records but will not be confined to the legal period only in determining your moral character. If the applicant has any legal records, conviction or any other problems during the legal period, The USGIS will make a determination and verify that some rehabilitation has occur or if the event has a real impact in the moral character of the applicant.

The most obvious evidence of your moral character is the criminal record. The process of immigration requires the applicant to reveal all the records and information associated, as well as the availability of all those documents and information. In addition, the applicant will go through a finger printing process in order to check for criminal record. There are crimes that will permanently disqualify the applicant such as murder or aggravated crimes. There are other crimes that may disqualify the applicant from the process if they occur during the legal period. Some of this cases could be remediated if proof of rehabilitation and good conduct could be shown. There are many questions and complex solution for applicants with criminal records, is our advice to seek council with a current, relevant and competent legal team before staring the process.

Another question regarding the applicant moral character is the case of under age children that do not reside with him/her, is necessary to bring forward prof of the financial support/assistance adequate for the minors. The proof could be a child support court order or payment documentation and proof, checks, money orders, presents and proof of child health insurance as well as proof of the minor’s constant visit or prolonged living arrangements with the applicant as well as sworn statement from the permanent residence guardian/person certifying the applicant contribution and adequate assistance. The validity and king of proof for these process resides in the hand of the agent reviewing the case. the applicant must keep precise and adequate records of all his contributions. The contributions in cash or without any documentation could cause problems during this process.

Each applicant that is register on the military service registration has to use his registration number. The clear violations of requirements during the legal period, could stablish a lack of good moral character of the applicant. All American and legal permanent residences males between the ages of 18 to 26 years old must register for the military service. If the applicant fails to register he has to proof to the USGIS that he was not aware of the need. If the applicant is within the age limits for service, he has to register before the naturalization interview. Migrants to the US. That are older than 26 years are except from the service.

Legal impediments

Once it is established that the applicant is eligible to apply the next questions that needs to be answers is: Are there any legal obstacle that may stop the application process. Criminal history, long absences from the U.S., child support payments, and other factors may be considered Impediments, as well as significant affiliation to political organization with communist tendencies, desertion in time of war, or applicants that are going through the process of deportation.


The applicant must have completed all the requirement for the application at the time of the submittal and for all the applicants in general all requirements have be to maintain until the swearing ceremony. The ceremony could happen early of the same day of the interview or few months later, the applicant have to be aware of their traveling agenda and all other requirements until the day of the swearing ceremony.

Requirements for the interview in English

The applicant has to show basic working English skills for the interview. Basic knowledge includes reading, writing and conversation skills.

The skills level for writing and reading would be determined by a set of sample phrases that USCIS has develop to measure the basic English skills level. The applicant has to be able read and write correctly one of the three choices offered. The USGIS agent has full discretion on how to give out the skill test but the applicant has to be able to complete the required task at least in one phrase.

Requirements for the interview – American history and civic education

The applicant has to be able to show basic knowledge of American history and civic education. The USCIS had made significant changes to the content of the test as well as procedures since October first of 2008. See sample test on immigration (10/052007). The USCIS has developed a one hundred question test. (doing business in the US. also has the sample in their library). The applicant will be tested in ten of the one hundred questions selected at random and the applicant has to have six correct answers to pass the test. The material for the test are available in the USCIS website.

The applicant fail the history and civic test conducted in English, he has to wait a period of 90 days after the interview before reapply for naturalization again. There some exceptions to the process according to age and time elapsed since their Legal Permanent Resident status, other candidates could be except based on disabilities and English.


For many permanent residents becoming a US citizen is achievable. For some, the process could be very simple, but for others the process could be quiet complex and even unattainable. If you have any questions about these matters it is best to contact Fernando Socol, the immigration attorney.
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