U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization
Some U.S. permanent residents would like to become U.S. citizens and some people are U.S. citizens already and do not know it. We assist clients in both situations. See below for more information on naturalization and citizenship.
U.S. permanent residents (LPRs) (i.e. those who have a “green card”) may apply to become U.S. citizens. If the LPR has been married to a U.S. citizen for three years, then he or she can apply three years after obtaining LPR status. Otherwise, the LPR must usually wait (there are exceptions) to apply until five years after obtaining LPR status. Most applicants can apply 90 days before their three or five-year anniversary of their LPR status.
To be granted citizenship, LPRs must show they have “good moral character” and have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 2 1/2 years since obtaining LPR status (or 1 1/2 years if applying as the spouse of a U.S. citizen). Additionally, most applicants for citizenship will have to pass tests demonstrating an ability to read, write, and speak at least 4th grade-level English and demonstrate a basic understanding of U.S. history and civics.
If the individual has been in contact with the police, whether in or outside of the U.S., he or she needs to seek advice before applying for naturalization. Criminal convictions, traffic citations, and/or arrests for criminal activity can have severe and negative consequences on an individual’s immigration status. Accordingly, sometimes a person may apply to become a U.S. citizen only to find out that immigration wants to deport them from the U.S. because of some past criminal conduct. See our criminal immigration advice section for more information.
Citizenship through Parents/Grandparents
Citizenship at Birth for Children Born Outside the U.S. and its Territories
A child born outside the U.S. may be a U.S. citizen at birth if one parent or both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of his/her birth and other requirements are met.
Automatic U.S. Citizenship after Birth
A child born abroad may also acquire U.S. citizenship after birth if one of his or her parents becomes a U.S. citizen before his or her 18th birthday.
Citizenship through Military Service
If you are serving or have served in the U.S. armed forces and would like to become a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents may be eligible for permanent residence and citizenship under special provisions of the INA.
Reach Out For Assistance
Our lawyers handle naturalization (i.e. those who have a green card), and citizenship for clients in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world. We are here to assist you with the process. Contact us online or by calling 206-512-3597. Se Habla Español.