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Naturalization Through Affirmative Application

Naturalization Through Affirmative Application

All individuals applying for citizenship through an affirmative application for naturalization must be at least 18 years old. In addition, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for five years after becoming a permanent resident (three years if married to a U.S. citizen);
  • At least half of the permanent residency time must have been spent physically in the U.S.;
  • Must have lived for at least three months in the jurisdiction where the application will be filed;
  • Must demonstrate good moral character for the entire period of residence required (5 or 3 years), and an attachment to the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution; and
  • Must possess basic English skills and knowledge of the history and government of the U.S.

Certain individuals are not eligible for citizenship even if they have met the above requirements. These include people who have held certain ideological beliefs and people who have deserted the U.S. military. While criminal offenses do not of themselves preclude a person from being naturalized, people with aggravated felony convictions after 1989 are unable to show good moral character.

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