Naturalization and citizenship

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Applying For Citizenship And Qualifying For Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which foreign-born individuals living in the United States become U.S. citizen.

To qualify for naturalization, most applicants must demonstrate:

  1. Five years* of Lawful Permanent Resident Status in the United States;
  2. English language fluency**;
  3. Fundamental knowledge and understanding of the history and form and government of the United States;
  4. Continuous residence in the United States during the five years preceding the application;
  5. Good moral character as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

*Lawful Permanent Residents who are married to and living with U.S. citizens may qualify to apply for naturalization after three years of obtaining residency.

**Certain Lawful Permanent Residents who are over age 50 and have lived as residents in the United States for 15 -20 years or more may qualify to apply for naturalization in their native language and receive an exemption from the English fluency requirement. In addition, individuals who can demonstrate that a medical condition prevents them from learning English may be exempt from the language requirement for naturalization.

Determining one’s eligibility for naturalization requires a thorough analysis of the facts and law applicable in his or her case. Consultation with an experienced Austin immigration lawyer prior to making application is recommended.

The Naturalization Process

Here is a breakdown of the steps you need to take to become naturalized:

  1. Determine your eligibility
  2. Prepare a Form 400, Application for Naturalization
  3. Get two passport-sized photo taken
  4. Gather all your necessary documentation
  5. Submit your application, photos, documents, and required fees to the USCIS
  6. Go for your fingerprinting and background check
  7. Complete your interview
  8. Complete your language and civics test
  9. Receive a decision
  10. Take your Oath of Allegiance

You may be able to obtain a disability waiver or be able to waive your biometrics test. Our Austin immigration attorneys can assist you with all waivers you may qualify for. If your citizenship application is denied, Walker Gates Vela can help you file an appeal. More information can be found on our Applying for Citizenship and the Citizenship Process pages.


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