Now is the time to apply for US citizenship if you are eligible. Consult with me or another immigration attorney about your eligibility and check out USCIS.gov for information about the citizenship/naturalization test.
The basic requirements for citizenship are:
- Five or three years of “green card”/LPR/lawful permanent resident status. You need five years of “green card” status unless for the past three years you have been married to and living with your US citizen spouse. To qualify for the three year citizenship, you do not need to have obtained your green card through your spouse, but you do need three years of marriage and joint residence.
- 50% of your time in the US in past five or three years.
- Residence in the US for the past five or three years.
- No trips outside US for more than six months unless you obtained permission to maintain your eligibility for citizenship or you can otherwise prove that you did not abandon your residence in the US.
- No outstanding US federal, state or local taxes due.
- No alimony or child support due.
- No bad acts in the past five or three years including alcohol/drug abuse (or use in the case of federally illegal drugs), no convictions for or even commission of certain crimes, no fraud or misrepresentation to any government official for any purpose, no unlawful voting.
- No open court cases, even for violations or crimes that would not make you ineligible for US citizenship
There are certain acts (generally criminal convictions and commissions) that make people permanent ineligible for citizenship. There are certain issues that make a person deportable/removable, but the person could still be eligible for citizenship. Because of the confusing nature of the law, make sure to talk with an immigration attorney before you file Form N-400. You do not need to hire the lawyer to represent you after the consultation, but you should understand your eligibility and any issues relating to your case before you file.