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ALLAN WERNICK: To become a U.S. citizen, a green card holder must meet these 7 Requirements!

Q. What are the requirements for a permanent resident (green card holder) to become a U.S. citizen?

Mathias Odigie

A. Here is an overview of the citizenship requirements. Most rules have exceptions, so it’s best to consult an immigration law expert if you have questions about whether you qualify. To find a organization providing free or low-cost immigration and citizenship law services in your area, go to http://bit.ly/2fYRIZI.

Continuous Residence: To naturalize, you must have resided here as a permanent resident continuously for five years. It’s three years if you have been married to, and living with, the same U.S. citizen for the last three years.

Physical Presence: You must have been physically present here as a permanent resident for half the five years (or half the three years under the rules for the spouse of a U.S. citizen).

Good Moral Character: You need good moral character for the five (or three years) prior to filing your application. If you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, you should see an immigration expert before filing your naturalization application. You may also have trouble meeting the good moral character requirement if you have failed to pay child support, you failed to register with Selective Service, or you failed to file required tax returns.

Civic Knowledge: You must show a basic knowledge of U.S. government and history. If you have a disability that prevents you from answering civic knowledge questions or to learn the material, the USCIS can waive this requirement.

English Language: You must be able to read, write, and speak simple English. The law exempts you from this requirement if you are at least age 50, with at least 20 years permanent residence, or you are at least age 55, with at least 15 years permanent residence. If a disability prevents you from complying with this requirement, the USCIS can waive it.

Age: You must be at least 18 years of age, unless you qualify as a member of the military.

Oath of Allegiance: You must take an oath of allegiance (or affirm your allegiance) to the United States government.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 7th Fl., 4 New York Plaza, New York, N.Y., 10004 or email to questions@allanwernick.com. Follow him on Twitter @awernick





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