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How Long Do Immigrants Need to Wait Before Applying for Citizenship?

 Posted on May 26, 2023 in Immigration

Naperville, IL Citizenship LawyerMany immigrants dream of becoming American citizens. Citizenship comes with many benefits, such as the right to vote and the ability to travel internationally with a United States passport. However, the process of obtaining citizenship can be complicated and lengthy. One of the main concerns for many immigrants is understanding how long they will need to wait before applying for citizenship. The wait times will depend on a few factors, and by understanding the procedures that will need to be followed, immigrants can make sure they can attain citizenship as quickly as possible.

Requirements for Applying for U.S. Citizenship

Immigrants can obtain citizenship through a process known as naturalization in which they will submit an application, provide documentation showing that they meet all eligibility requirements, take tests demonstrating a knowledge of the English language and the U.S. government, and take an Oath of Allegiance. The wait times that will apply before a person can apply for citizenship will depend on how an immigrant is classified:

  • Lawful permanent residents - In general, a person who has entered the United States on an immigrant visa and received a Green Card will be able to apply for citizenship if they have maintained lawful permanent resident status for five years. Before filing their application, they must have maintained continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years. A person is allowed to spend some time outside of the country, as long as their primary home is in the U.S., and they must show that they were physically present in the United States for at least 30 months during the five years before applying for naturalization.

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens - Immigrants who receive Green Cards after getting married to U.S. citizens will generally have a three-year wait time before they can apply for citizenship. Before submitting their application, they must have maintained a continuous residence in the U.S. for three years, and they must have been living together with their spouse as a married couple during that time. During the three years before applying for naturalization, they must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months.

  • Members of the U.S. military - Immigrants who have served in any branch of the United States military will be eligible to apply for citizenship if they served honorably for at least one year at any time. Before applying for naturalization, they must have a valid Green Card. If a person applies for citizenship within six months after being separated from the military, they will not need to meet any requirements for continuous residence or physical presence. However, a person who applies for naturalization more than six months after their separation will need to show that they have resided continuously in the U.S. for five years and have been physically present in the country for 30 months.

Contact Our DuPage County Naturalization Attorneys

Obtaining citizenship is an important milestone in the lives of many immigrants, but it is a process that requires patience and dedication. It is important to ensure that all applications are filed correctly and the proper documentation is provided to demonstrate that an immigrant meets all of the eligibility requirements. At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, our Illinois citizenship lawyers can provide guidance during this process, and we can help address any issues that may affect a person's ability to become a U.S. citizen. Contact our firm today at 630-932-9100 to set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist with citizenship or other issues that may affect immigrants and their families.





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