How the Permanent Residency Rule Works When Applying for Naturalization

You want to become a U.S. citizen, but you’re learning that there are a few different ways to go about it. By determining what situation you’re in and how it works when applying for naturalization, you can start the process sooner rather than later. If you’re prepared, your application for citizenship is more likely to go through.

Here’s some information on how permanent residency works when you’re applying for naturalization.

What Does Permanent Residency Mean?

Permanent residency is the most common path to U.S. citizenship. A permanent resident card is also known colloquially as a green card. With it, you can live and work permanently in the United States. Some won’t have expiration dates, but most of them only last up to 10 years. If you’ve been given conditional permanent resident status, then it will only last two years.

While you may be able to keep renewing it every ten years or so, at a certain point, you might want to become a citizen instead. That’s when you’ll have to apply for citizenship.

Applying for Citizenship

Applying for citizenship, or naturalization, should be done 90 calendar days before you complete your permanent residency requirement, but only if you’ve been a permanent resident for at least five years or you’ve been a permanent resident for at least three years and you’re married to a U.S. citizen.

If you are eligible, then you can complete Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You can use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tool to figure out the anniversary date of your permanent residency and then apply when the time comes.

Note: You must be at least 18 years old when you apply, demonstrate continuous residency in the U.S. for the five years you were a permanent resident, and demonstrate that you’ve been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the five years you were a resident. You’ll also need to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S., take a civics and English test, and show that you are of good moral character.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you may have to give up citizenship of your former country if it does not allow you to be a dual citizen.

Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

Keep in mind that you cannot marry someone falsely in order to get a green card and, ultimately, citizenship. Representatives from the USCIS are going to interview you and your spouse to see if your marriage is legitimate. They will ask you questions like:

  • Who introduced you to each other?
  • Where do you go when you go on dates?
  • What was your wedding like?
  • Did you live together before you were married?
  • What do you do together on a day-to-day basis?

They are going to question you about the timeline of your relationship, your wedding day, and what your life looks like now, essentially, so you’ll need to be prepared going in for the interview.

Getting Help From an Attorney

The citizenship process can be hard to understand. But with the help of an immigration attorney, you can go through the process much more smoothly. Look for an immigration attorney with years of experience and the results to support their excellent work.

Contact a Florida Immigration Attorney

Do you have questions about becoming a U.S. citizen through permanent residency? Then contact Florida Immigration Law Counsel through our website or by calling 1-800-666-4996. We deal with the government so you don’t have to. We look forward to assisting you.


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Attorney Saman Movassaghi, Esq.

Caring and compassionate, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is a Florida immigration attorney dedicated to producing the results her clients need. She has over 17 years of experience helping both corporate and individual clients with an emphasis in employment/investment cases and family adjustment cases.

As the Managing Attorney at Florida Immigration Law Counsel, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez and her team are capable of representing and helping individuals looking to attain a Family VisaWork Visa, and Citizenship/Naturalization. Her experience successfully representing clients in front of the Department of Justice for cases involving Deportation/Removal Proceedings will lead to success in your case.

Her experience and expertise in immigration litigation has led to multiple Avvo awards and other accolades, including the Clients’ Choice for 2017 Immigration Attorney. Her clients also consistently post positive reviews on her Facebook page. Her experience has also allowed her to teach a new generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor of law at Nova Southeastern University, and she also regularly gives speeches on immigration matters.

Counselor Gonzalez is also experienced in helping corporate clients through the process of filing for Employment Visas, Labor Certifications, and Business and Investment Visas with the Department of Labor. She takes on the entire case from start to finish, simplifying the process for her clients and allowing them to focus on their business.

Fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi – Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is dedicated to making her clients feel comfortable and assured in making her their go-to immigration attorney in Florida. Her goal is to ensure that those who want to live the American dream have a professional fighting for them and making the process as painless as possible.

Saman’s passion for immigration law stems from her personal life as the daughter of immigrants. Her parents were recipients of the student F1 visa in 1971. Her father came into this country with the goal to improve his life and the life of his children. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering and Business, instilling in his daughter a strong work ethic that she carries to this day. Saman saw firsthand what it means to be an immigrant and achieve the American Dream.

Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez can personally understand the struggle of immigrants and the children of immigrants navigating through the bureaucratic process of immigration law. Because of this, she dedicates herself fully and provides her personal attention to every case. She prides herself on developing a strong relationship with each and every client, and she is not afraid of pushing the envelope and looking for answers where other attorneys have failed.

Saman Movassaghi makes it her goal to provide you with only the best representation for immigration matters because she believes it’s time for you to live the American dream!