Lawful permanent residents that meet certain requirements are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship/naturalization. We are currently experiencing very fast processing times for citizenship/naturalization applications with USCIS as some applications are being processed and scheduled for interview within weeks after applying.
To be eligible to apply for naturalization through Form N-400, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have been a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen).
- You must have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the 5-year (or 3-year) period.
- You must be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
- You must have a basic understanding of U.S. civics and history.
- You must be a person of good moral character.
- You must not have committed any crimes that would disqualify you from naturalization.
There are a few exceptions to these requirements. For example, you may be eligible to naturalize even if you have not been physically present in the United States for the full 5-year (or 3-year) period if you can show that your absence was for a temporary and justifiable reason. You may also be eligible to naturalize even if you do not meet the English language requirements if you are over the age of 50 and have been an LPR for at least 20 years as you may take the civic test in your native language. The same exception applies if you are over the age of 55 and have been an LPR for 15 years. If you are older than 65 and have been an LPR for at least 20 years at the time of filing, you will be given special consideration and a simplified civic test.
The naturalization process traditionally takes several months to complete. However, USCIS has committed efforts to processing naturalization applications at a historically fast rate. Please note that this does not apply to every single case. Each case is unique and can be processed differently under different timelines.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Chien-Yu (Michael) Wang is the Managing Attorney at Wilner & O’Reilly’s Sacramento office. He handles both family and business-based immigration matters along with removal defense. Mr. Wang is admitted to the State Bar of California and the U.S. District Court for the Central and Eastern Districts of California. He is a member of the Los Angeles Country Bar Association, the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, the Sacramento County Bar Association, and the Asian-Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento.
Mr. Wang graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese and East Asian Studies, and also studied at the Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. He earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern Law School, graduating at the top of his class.