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Pursuing Your Dreams Through Naturalization

Naturalization is the process for becoming a U.S. citizen. It’s an exciting milestone. Navigating the process is not always easy, however.

At ERM Immigration Law, PLLC, we’re passionate about helping people achieve citizenship through naturalization. Our immigration attorneys understand all facets of U.S. immigration law. You can turn to us for help with any and all aspects of the process. Based in Seattle, Washington, we work with immigrants from around the globe.

Who Qualifies For Naturalization?

To qualify for U.S. citizenship through naturalization, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You’ve been a green card holder (lawful permanent resident) for at least five years, or three years if your green card is through marriage
  • You’re a lawful permanent resident and have completed at least one year of U.S. military service
  • You’re a child of U.S. citizen parents

Additionally, you must meet other eligibility requirements, including demonstrating good moral character. If you have a criminal history or spent too much time out of the United States after getting a green card, you might not qualify. It’s important to consult with a skilled immigration attorney if you have any doubts about whether you’re eligible for naturalization.

The Naturalization Process

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

  • File a thorough and detailed application (form N-400) with the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • Complete an interview with a USCIS officer
  • Pass an English test demonstrating basic reading, writing, and speaking skills (or qualify for an exception)
  • Pass a civics test demonstrating basic knowledge of U.S. government and history (or qualify for an exception)
  • Take an oath of allegiance in a judicial or administrative ceremony

Thorough preparation is essential for navigating each of these steps. Our lawyers can help you through all stages of the process.

I got my green card through my employer and am married to a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply for citizenship in three years?

Yes. You can apply if you are married and living with a U.S. Citizen while having a green card for the three years before your naturalization application. You do not have to have received your green card through that spouse. This rule applies even if you got your green card through employment, another family member, or any other immigration process.

Do I have to live with my spouse to naturalize?

To be eligible to apply for citizenship, you must have your green card and be married and living with your U.S. citizen spouse for three years at the time you file your N-400 (application for naturalization).

When I filed my naturalization application, I was still living with my spouse but now we are separated. Can I still get citizenship?

Yes. You must only be living with your U.S. citizen spouse for the three years before you file, and on the date, you file. You must still be married until you have your oath ceremony (are granted citizenship). However, USCIS may look more closely at your case because you no longer live together.

Can I apply for naturalization early?

Yes. You can apply for naturalization up to 90 days before your 3 or 5-year “statutory period” has been completed if every other category of eligibility has also been met at the time of application.

Can I move out of state after I file my N-400?

Yes. You can move after you file. You must change your address. If you do not, they will schedule you for an interview at the wrong location; your case will be delayed if you go to the old location or denied for abandonment if you do not go.

Can I travel abroad after filing the N-400?

Yes. You’ll need to continue to maintain continuous residence and physical presence. You will update the travel record at your interview.

Learn More About Naturalization

Talk to our attorneys about your naturalization options, please contact our office online or call us at 206-745-9241. We look forward to learning more about your situation and help you accomplish your immigration goals.