Citizenship Eligibility in the United States

Many people in the world dream of becoming a United States citizen. It gives an individual a great sense of pride when they are approved and naturalized in the United States. The process of naturalization admits a foreigner to become a citizen of a country. Being a citizen allows a person to vote, hold government positions, and more. In order to become a citizen of the United States, there is a long process that is broken up into several requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

While filing for citizenship, it is required for an individual to fill out a naturalization form. This is known as N-400. This document allows a person to apply for citizenship. There are certain requirements an individual must meet in order to be approved to become a citizen. To file, you must be over the age of 18 and satisfy one of the following:

  • Had a permanent United States residence for the past 5 years
  • Lived in the United States for 4 years due to asylum
  • Lived in the United States as the spouse of a citizen for 3 years
  • Are a permanent resident and served in the U.S. military for 3 years

Physical and Residential Presence

In order for an individual to be approved for citizenship, they must provide proof of residency. This requires them to have evidence of their permanent residence in the country. While you are waiting for your application to be approved, it is important to know that absences are watched carefully. If you have been away from the United States for 6 months or more, it may affect your ability to become eligible. Leaving the country may also require you to prove that you did not abandon your residence while you were away.

Demonstrating Character

One of the most important parts of applying for citizenship is proving that you have good character. Certain crimes that have been committed may impact or delay an individual’s application for citizenship.This involves an individual to not be convicted of a crime of that violates standards of a community. This may include:

  • Assault
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Drug crimes

United States Knowledge

In order to become a citizen, it is required in almost all cases that you have knowledge of U.S. History, government, and the English language. This may change depending on the case. Those who are over the age of 50 and have lived in the country for over 20 years are exempt from the language requirement but still must pass the civics test. The same standard holds for a person over the age of 55 who has lived in the country for over 15 years.


If you are approved for citizenship in the United States, you are required to pledge loyalty to the country. This oath of allegiance takes place during a naturalization ceremony where friends and family gather to watch. It is after this ceremony that you are officially a U.S. citizen.


If you are considering or in the process of becoming a United States citizen and need an effective attorney to guide you through it, contact Detzky, Hunter & DeFillippo, LLC. today.

Detzky, Hunter & DeFillippo, LLC is an experienced law firm that has proudly served clients across New Jersey for decades from their convenient locations in Freehold and Somerville. If you need strong legal guidance, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are lawyers who listen, counselors who care.

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