Making The American Dream Attainable

Can I get citizenship after 5 years of lawful permanent residency?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2024 | Citizenship, Immigration |

If you are a United States green card holder (also known as a lawful permanent resident), you likely wonder if you can apply for citizenship. If you have been living in Florida for five years, the answer is likely yes. However, there are some requirements and steps you need to follow.

Basic naturalization requirements

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal agency that handles immigration and naturalization. USCIS explains that there are multiple basic naturalization requirements to apply for citizenship.

Time requirements

First, you must be an adult, which means 18 years old or older. Second, if you are married to a citizen, you need only have your green card for 3 years. Otherwise, the waiting period is 5 years. Third, you must have been physically here for at least half of this time. For 5-year applicants, this means 30 months of physical presence, and for 3-year applicants, 18 months. Fourth, you cannot take any trips abroad during the 5-year or 3-year period that lasted longer than 6 months. And, wherever you file your citizenship application, you must have lived in that state or district for at least 3 months.

Knowledge requirements

Moreover, there are knowledge requirements. This includes the ability to speak English, as well as read and write English as well. Though, there are age, disability and residency length exemptions. You must also have a basic sense of United States history and know how the government works. You will be tested.

Ideological requirements

Furthermore, there are ideological requirements for United States citizenship. First, you must demonstrate good moral character. This is done by proving that you have not committed criminal offenses or violated other laws. You also must demonstrate that you ideologically align with the ideal and principles of the United States Constitution. This means that you are willing to swear and affirm that you are willing to support and defend our country and its laws.

How do I apply in Florida?

If you meet these requirements, then you likely qualify for citizenship. The first step to naturalization in Florida is to complete a USCIS Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization). Send it to your local USCIS office with a copy of your green card, two passport-style photos and the required fee. Once received, USCIS will send you the date and location for you to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photos), and the date and location for your citizenship interview.