If you are a green card holder, it is important to know where you stand in the process of becoming an American citizen. In this blog post we will discuss how long after getting a green card can I apply for citizenship.
There are several factors that determine when you may be eligible for naturalization and the following information should not be considered as legal advice or guidance on your path towards citizenship.
The process of getting a green card is long and difficult, but the benefits are worth it.
The United States is one of the few countries in the world that offers “green cards” to immigrate without sponsorship by an employer or family. To get a green card, you have to invest time, energy, and money into your application, but once approved you gain access to these benefits:
- * Ability to work anywhere in the United States
- * Eligible to apply for American citizenship *
- Able to leave and re-enter the U.S. without restrictions *
- Green cardholders can bring his/her family members
When you are eligible to apply for citizenship
To be able to apply for citizenship, you must first prove that you have lived in the United States as a green card holder for a certain number of years. You can apply for 3 months before reaching this specific number of years. This means that if you have had your green card for 5 years, you can apply for citizenship 3-5 months before your 5th anniversary as a green cardholder.
You must also not have broken any immigration laws during the time that you held a green card. For example, if you were out of the country for too long, you may lose your permanent resident status and be unable to apply for citizenship until you get it back.
If I have a criminal record will that prevent me from becoming a citizen?
If you have any felonies or serious misdemeanors on your criminal record, you may not be eligible for citizenship. To know the exact laws and regulations that apply to your criminal record, consult with a legal professional who specializes in U.S. immigration law
There are a few different ways to become a citizen, depending on your situation.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen, have been married for 3 years, and have lived in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years, you can apply for citizenship through “”’ The Nationalization Process Through Marriage”'”
If you have been a green card holder for at least 10 years and have been living in the United States at least as a lawful permanent resident for 5 years after getting your green card, you can apply through “”’ The Nationalization Process Through Continuous Residence and Physical Presence”'”
If you are a refugee or have been granted asylum, you can apply for citizenship using ” The Naturalization Process for Refugees and Asylees”
How long after getting a green card can I apply for citizenship?
If you are eligible to apply for naturalization, you should not wait any longer and must do it as soon as possible. The first step is to gather all the documents required by USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), which are:
- * Green card
- * Passport
- * Birth certificate
- * Proof of your legal status in the United States (if you have changed your name, for example)
The above list is not exhaustive. It may be necessary to provide other documents along with the ones listed above depending on your personal situation, so it is important to contact an immigration lawyer to know exactly what documents you must submit.
Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, schedule your interview at a local USCIS office. If it is determined that you are eligible for naturalization, you will be scheduled to take an oath of allegiance and become a U.S. citizen shortly after! Please note that before taking your oath, you must also prove that your are familiarized with the fundamentals of U.S. government and history.
You will have to pay a fee for your naturalization application that varies depending on your situation (marriage or not, refugee or not). The total fee is currently 675$. After receiving this fee, your naturalization process can begin!
(Nationalization Process Through Marriage) * Marrying a United States Citizen (USC) * Filing the Naturalization Petition (Form N-400) * Applying for Citizenship (Oath of Allegiance & Naturalization Interview)
(Nationalization Process Through Continuous Residence and Physical Presence) * Continuous Residence and Physical Presence * Filing the Naturalization Petition (Form N-400) * Applying for Citizenship (Oath of Allegiance & Naturalization Interview)
(Nationalization Process Through Refugees and Asylees) * Refugee or asylee status * Filing the Naturalization Petition (Form N-400) * Applying for Citizenship (Oath of Allegiance & Naturalization Interview)
Nationalization Process Through Marriage: How soon can I apply for citizenship after getting a green card through marriage to an American citizen?
If it is less than 3 years since you got your green card, you can wait and apply for citizenship once you hit the 3-year mark. Otherwise, if it has been more than 3 years since you got your green card, we strongly recommend that you apply for citizenship as soon as possible.
(Nationalization Process Through Continuous Residence and Physical Presence) * Nationalization Process Through Continuous Residence and Physical Presence: How long after getting a green card am I allowed to apply for naturalization?
If you got your green card less than 5 years ago, you can apply for citizenship as soon as you hit the 5-year mark. If it has been more than 5 years since you got your green card, it is time to take action!
(Nationalization Process Through Refugees and Asylees) * Nationalization Process Through Refugees & Asylees: How long after getting a green card am I allowed to apply for naturalization? If you are a refugee or have been granted asylum, you can apply for citizenship using “The Naturalization Process for Refugees and Asylees”.
Apply as soon as possible – once you get your green card there’s no going back!
- If you wait too long, USCIS will ask for your green card back!
- You’ll be able to travel freely after becoming a citizen – no more visa (or green card) needed when reentering the USA!
- Your family members will have better chances of being allowed in the country if coming from abroad.
- The U.S. could benefit from your talents & skills (but this is not guaranteed)
- You will have access to better jobs, higher salaries, and more benefits!
- Your children born abroad can now be recognized as American citizens!
- We strongly recommend that you complete all steps of the naturalization process before it
Wait six months after receiving your green card before applying for citizenship
As you may know, it is possible to apply for U.S. citizenship after living in the U.S. with a green card for a period of five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.
If you have lived a total of six months or more in the United States as a permanent resident during any calendar year, you are considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes during that year and required to file a U.S. tax return.
If you were out of the country for at least one day during any part of a calendar year and your trips outside the United States totaled at least six months, then you would also need to file as a nonresident.
What if you didn’t file a tax return when filing for U.S. citizenship?
In general, if you are required to file a U.S. tax return and fail to do so, then you may have to pay a failure to file a penalty. In addition, since not filing a return can be considered evidence of nonresident status, you may have to overcome substantial evidentiary barriers when filing a U.S. tax return after being out of compliance for several years.
The impact on your filing status and exemptions in the year you file
There are other consequences besides not being able to claim certain credits or deductions that could affect your case. Taking into account the tax return penalty even if you were a nonresident during that tax year.