Application for Naturalization

Naturalization Application and Interview

Our law firm appreciates the opportunity to help you complete and file your N-400 application, prepare for the naturalization test and interview, and accompany you to the interview. 

Eligibility for Naturalization

1. Generally, you need to be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for 5 years, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years. Those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces may be able to Naturalize sooner.

2. Be physically present in the U.S. for over half of the required residency period.

3. Possess good moral character.

4. Willing to pledge allegiance to the U.S.

5. Generally, be able to read, write, and speak in English language. Certain exceptions are allowed. 

6. Pass the naturalization test on U.S. history and government

Exceptions and Accommodations

There are exceptions and modifications to  the naturalization requirements and citizenship test that are available to those who qualify. There are also accommodations for individuals with disabilities.  


English Language Exemption for Naturalization


You Are Exempt From The English Language Requirement, But Are Still Required To Take The Civics Test If You Are:

Age  50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a  permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20  years   (commonly referred to as the “50/20” exception).

OR

Age  55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a  permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred  to as the “55/15” exception).


Note:

Even if you qualify for the “50/20” or “55/15” English language exceptions listed above, you must still take the civics test.

You will be permitted to take the civics test in your native language.

If you take the test in your native language, you must bring an interpreter with you to your interview.

Your interpreter must be fluent in both English and your native language.

If  you are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least  20 years at the time of filing your application for naturalization, you will be given  special consideration regarding the civics requirement.



Medical Disability Exceptions to English and Civics


You  may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics  naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these  requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a  mental impairment. Our office would be happy to help you to request this exception, and work with your doctor on completion and submission of Certificate for Disablity Exceptions form N-648 on your behalf. (This form must be completed by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist.) 



Continuous Residence Exceptions


If  you are engaged in certain kinds of overseas employment you may be  eligible for an exception to the continuous residence requirement. 



Disability Accommodations


Certain accommodations or modifications may be available for applicants with physical  or mental impairments that make it difficult for them to complete the  naturalization process. Please contact our office if you need to discuss this topic in more detail.



Oath of Allegiance


After  applying for naturalization and in order to be naturalized, you must  take an oath of allegiance in a public ceremony. The law allows for  certain modifications to the Oath of Allegiance.  


Members of the Military and Their Families

Citizenship for Military Members 


Members and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces may be  eligible for naturalization through their military service under Section  328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Additionally,  the INA provides for posthumous naturalization under section 329A


General Requirements & Exceptions


The general requirements for  naturalization may be diminished or waived for qualifying service  member. Qualifying  military service is generally in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine  Corps, Coast Guard, and certain components of the National Guard and  the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. 


Naturalization through One Year of Qualifying Service During “Peacetime”


Generally,  a person who has served honorably in the U.S. armed forces at any time  may be eligible to apply for naturalization under section 328 of the  INA. The military community sometimes refers to this as “peacetime  naturalization.”In general, an applicant for naturalization under Section 328 of the INA must:

  • Be age 18 or older
  • Have  served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for at least 1 year and, if  separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably
  • Be a permanent resident at the time of examination on the naturalization application
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics)
  • Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have  an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well  disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant  periods under the law
  • Have continuously resided in  the United States for at least five years and have been physically  present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years  immediately preceding the date of filing the application, UNLESS  the applicant has filed an application while still in the service or  within 6 months of separation. In the latter case, the applicant is not  required to meet these residence and physical presence requirements.  


Naturalization through Qualifying Service during Periods of Hostilities


Generally,  members of the U.S. armed forces who serve honorably for any period of  time (even 1 day) during specifically designated periods of hostilities  (see below) are eligible for naturalization under section 329 of the INA  through such military service.In general, an applicant for naturalization under INA 329 must:

  • Have  served honorably in active-duty status, or as a member of the Selected  Reserve of the Ready Reserve, for any amount of time during a designated  period of hostilities and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces,  have been separated honorably
  • Have been lawfully admitted as a permanent resident at any time after enlistment or induction, OR  have been physically present in the United States or certain  territories at the time of enlistment or induction (regardless of  whether the applicant was admitted as a permanent resident)
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics)
  • Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have  an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well  disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant  periods under the law

There is no minimum age requirement for an applicant under this section. The designated periods of hostilities are:

  • April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
  • September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946
  • June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955
  • February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978
  • August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991
  • September 11, 2001 until the present

The  current designated period of hostilities starting on September 11,  2001, will terminate when the President issues an Executive Order  terminating the period.Note: current members of the U.S. armed  forces who qualify for naturalization under sections 328 or 329 of the  INA can proceed with their naturalization application either in the  United States or overseas.


Citizenship for Spouses and Children of Military Members

Spouses of U.S. citizen members of the U.S.  armed forces (service members) may be eligible for expedited or overseas  naturalization. Children of service members may also be eligible for  overseas naturalization.  


Expedited Naturalization for Spouses of Military Members


Spouses of U.S. citizen service members who are (or will be)  deployed may be eligible for expedited naturalization in the United  States under section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).      To apply for naturalization under section 319(b) of the INA, you generally must:      

  • Be age 18 or older,
  • Establish that your U.S. citizen spouse is deployed abroad as a service member,
  • Be present in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident at the time of  your naturalization application interview,
  • Be present in the U.S. at the time of naturalization,
  • Declare  in good faith upon naturalization an intent to reside abroad with your  U.S. citizen spouse and to reside in the U.S. immediately upon your  spouse’s termination of service abroad,
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English,
  • Have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics), and
  • Have  been, and continue to be, a person of good moral character, attached to  the principles of the U.S. Constitution and well-disposed to the good  order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the  law.

Overseas Naturalization for Spouses of Military Members


Certain eligible spouses of service  members can naturalize abroad under section 319(e) of the INA without  traveling to the United States for any part of the naturalization  process. These spouses can also count qualifying residence abroad as  residence and physical presence in the U.S. for purposes of  naturalization.    In general, to be eligible for naturalization abroad under section 319(e) of the INA, you must:    

  • Be the spouse of a member of the U.S. armed forces,
  • Be authorized to accompany your spouse abroad pursuant to your spouse’s official orders,
  • Be residing abroad with your spouse in marital union, and
  • Meet  the requirements of either section 316(a) or 319(a) of the INA at the  time you file your naturalization application (noting that time outside  the U.S. on government orders is considered as time in the U.S. for the  residence and physical presence requirements).  
    • Section 316(a) applies to you if you have been a lawful  permanent resident for 5 years immediately before the date you file the  naturalization application.
    • Section 319(a) applies to you if:  
      • You have been a lawful permanent resident for 3 years immediately before the date you file the naturalization application,
      • You have lived in marital union with your U.S. citizen spouse for at least those 3 years, and
      • Your U.S citizen spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years.

Overseas Naturalization for Children of Military Members


 Certain eligible children of service  members can become naturalized U.S. citizens under section 322 of the  INA without having to travel to the United States for any part of the  naturalization process.    Under section 322 of the INA, a parent who is a U.S. citizen  (or, if the citizen parent has died during the preceding 5 years, a  citizen grandparent or citizen legal guardian) may apply for  naturalization on behalf of a child born outside of the United States  who has not acquired citizenship automatically under section 320 of the  INA. The general requirements are that:    

  • At least one parent is a U.S. citizen or, if deceased, the parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of death.
  • The  U.S. citizen parent or his or her U.S. citizen parent has (or at the  time of death had) been physically present in the United States or its  outlying possessions for at least 5 years, at least two of which were  after attaining the age of 14.
  • The child is under the age of 18 years.
  • The  child is residing outside of the United States in the legal and  physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent (or, if the citizen parent  is deceased, an individual who does not object to the application).
  • The  child is temporarily present in the United States after having entered  lawfully and is maintaining lawful status in the United States.

A child of a member of the U.S. armed forces who is abroad  with the service member pursuant to official orders is not required to  be present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission. In  addition, the child may count any period of time of residence abroad on  official orders as physical presence in the United States. 

Survivor Benefits for Relatives of Military Members

Relatives of U.S. Citizen Military Members


 If you are the spouse, child, or parent of  a U.S. citizen who died as a result of combat while serving in active  duty status in the U.S. armed forces, you may be eligible for  immigration benefits as an “immediate relative” for up to 2 years after  your service member relative’s death.Additionally, a surviving  spouse, child, or parent of such service members may be eligible for  naturalization as the surviving relative of the service member under  Section 319(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). You will be considered an immediate relative for immigration purposes provided:

  • Your service member spouse served honorably in active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces
  • Your service member spouse died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat
  • You were not legally separated from your service member spouse at the time of his or her death
  • You file a petition for an immigration benefit (Form I-360) within two years of your service member spouse’s death
  • You do not remarry prior to obtaining permanent residence based on your relationship to your U.S. Citizen spouse.

. You will be considered an immediate relative for immigration purposes provided:

  • Your service member relative served honorably in active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces
  • Your service member relative died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat
  • You file a petition for an immigration benefit (Form I-360) within 2 years of your service member relative’s death.

The  spouse, child, or parent of a deceased U.S. citizen member of the U.S.  armed forces (service member) who died as the result of his or her  honorable service, including a service member granted posthumous  citizenship, and who, in the case of a surviving spouse, was living in  marital union with the citizen service member spouse at the time of his  or her death, may be eligible for naturalization as the surviving  relative of the service member under Section 319(d) of the Immigration  and Nationality Act (INA).The surviving spouse, child, or parent  must meet the general naturalization requirements, except for the  residence or physical presence requirements in the United States. Note: If you were the  spouse of the deceased service member, you must not have been legally  separated at the time of his or her death. However, you remain eligible  for naturalization under this provision even if you have remarried since  the service member’s death. 


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Law Office of Jagat Kooner, J.D.

343 East Main Street Suite 310 Stockton CA 95202 USA

Phone: 209.565.3979; Fax: 209.336.0176

Hours (By Appointment)

Mon - Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

Sat - 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Sun - By appointment only