Applying for Naturalization

316 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-649, __ Stat. ___, 8 U.S.C. 1427.
8 C.F.R. 316 (1998).

(c) 1999 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. All rights reserved.


Generally, all individuals born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction of the United States are citizens (e.g., children of diplomatic officials, etc.). Still, other individuals born outside the United States may claim United States citizenship derivatively from a parent who at the time of the individual's birth was a United States citizen. In addition, certain lawful permanent residents who are under eighteen (18) years of age and whose parents naturalized before such attainment of the age of eighteen (18) may apply for derivative citizenship. United States citizens have the full rights and protections as conferred by the United States Constitution. A United States citizen may apply for and travel with a United States passport, vote, and run for a public elected office. A United States citizen may not be deported or refused entry to the United States. However, a naturalized United States citizen may be placed into proceedings before a Federal District Court to have such naturalization removed (e.g., denaturalization).

In order to be eligible for United States Naturalization, lawful permanent residents must meet the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated Ability to Speak, Read, Write in the English language and knowledge of the principles of the U.S. government and United States History.
  2. Good moral character;
  3. Residency in the United States for certain periods:

Application Procedure

In order to apply for United States citizenship, a lawful permanent resident must properly complete and file an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). All Applications for Naturalization must be accompanied by certain supporting documentation and materials such as: proof of lawful permanent residency (copy of alien registration card), two (2) immigration style photographs, and documentation demonstrating residency in the U.S. for the periods described above. In addition, all applicants must be fingerprinted by the Service at an Application Support Center (ASC) in order to determine whether the applicant is ineligible for naturalization (e.g., criminal convictions, prior deportations, false claims to U.S. citizenship, etc.) After a Naturalization application is properly filed with the Service, the applicant will be notified within 30-120 days for a scheduled time to be fingerprinted.

Thereafter, the Service will review the application and schedule an interview. It is at this interview in which the applicant may be required to demonstrate his ability to read, write, and speak English and knowledge and understanding of the U.S. form of government, principles of the constitution, and U.S. history. Certain applicants may be exempted from these requirements due to age (55 years and lawful permanent residency status for 15 years, or 50 years of age and lawful permanent resident status for 20 years) or other medical disability (filed on Form I-648). Applicants who satisfy all requirements will be notified of a Naturalization Oath Ceremony where he will take the Oath of Allegiance, relinquish allegiance to foreign nations, swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution and defend the same, and become a United States citizen.

Spouses of U.S. citizens working abroad for the U.S. government and certain U.S. corporations may bypass the often protracted administration processing and request expedited processing. Certain non-citizen children of U.S. citizen parents may be required to file for a Certificate of Citizenship instead of naturalization in order to transmit citizenship derivatively from the parent to the child (e.g., filing of Form N-600).

For more information about applying for U.S. Citizenship, please contact us by email, telephone, or fax or schedule an appointment to have your individual case discussed and analyzed an attorney.