Citizenship & Naturalization
Below are basic guidelines to attaining U.S. citizenship. If you are interested in receiving citizenship from ILCM, please refer to our eligibility and intake requirements.
Eligibility Requirements for U.S. Citizenship
To be eligible for citizenship or naturalization, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You must have been a legal permanent resident for 5 years, or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen.
- If you served in the U.S. Armed Forces, you may be eligible even if you are not a legal permanent resident.
- If you are a refugee, 5 years begins on the date you entered the U.S.
- You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the required residency period.
- You must not have abandoned residency in the U.S.
- You must be willing to swear loyalty to the U.S.
- You must have good moral character.
- You must demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government.
- You must read, write, and speak basic English, unless you qualify for one of the following exemptions:
- To take the U.S. history and government test in your native language, you must be 55 years of age and have been a legal permanent resident for at least 15 years, OR be 50 years of age and a legal permanent resident for at least 20 years.
- To take a simplified version of the U.S. history and government test, you must be 65 years of age and have been a legal permanent resident for at least 20 years.
Barriers to Becoming a US Citizen
If you have experienced any of the following or other situations not listed, it is recommended that you see an expert in immigration law before applying for citizenship.
- You made trips out of the U.S. for more than 6 months.
- You moved to another country since receiving your green card.
- You are in deportation (removal) proceedings, or have been deported.
- You have not filed you federal income taxes.
- You have not provided financial support for your children.
- You are a male and have not registered with the Selective Service.
- You have been arrested, convicted, or have committed a crime.
- You have ever been involved with drugs, prostitution, polygamy, firearms, domestic abuse, or child abuse.
- You committed fraud to enter the United States or get your green card, or you were not eligible when you originally got your green card.
- You lied or committed fraud to receive public benefits.
- You falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen.
- You helped someone enter the U.S. illegally, even if they were your family.