• Patricia Brandt, Attorney

Pathway to U.S. Citizenship- Can't I do this myself?

To become a U.S. citizen, you must:

1. Have had a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for at least five years, or for at least three years if you’re filing as the spouse of a U.S. citizen

You must renew your Permanent Resident Card before applying for citizenship if:

Your card will expire within six months of applying, or

Your card has already expired

You can apply for naturalization before you receive your new Green Card. But, you’ll need to submit a photocopy of the receipt for your Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, when you receive it.

2. Meet certain eligibility requirements. Some requirements may include being:

At least 18 years old when you apply

Able to read, write, and speak basic English

A person of good moral character

3. Go through the 10-step naturalization process which includes:

Determining your eligibility to become an American citizen

Preparing and submitting form N-400, the application for naturalization

Taking the U.S. Naturalization Test and having a personal interview

Wow, this looks like an easy process, right? Unfortunately Immigration law is notoriously, insanely complicated, and it's run by a bureaucracy that receives less oversight and public scrutiny than you might expect. Even the simplest of U.S. immigration applications involves filling out forms and gathering documents in order to prove your eligibility, and you will most likely be asked to follow detailed instructions about doing so. Make a mistake, and you could find your application returned, delayed, or even rejected.

Attorneys have both the knowledge and the streamlined systems to prepare the applications smoothly. Where you have one immigration situation to figure out, immigration attorneys have hundreds, and that experience is what you need.

If you think you have an immigration question to ask, call an immigration attorney today.

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