If you want to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be free to work, live, and establish yourself here, then you’ll need to go through the naturalization process.
However, the naturalization process can be confusing. It seems like there are so many steps involved and things you have to do before you can gain citizenship. It also takes years to accomplish.
By doing your research now, you can be prepared later for the naturalization process in Florida, and be one step closer to becoming a U.S. citizen.
What Is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the legal process that a person who is not a U.S. citizen goes through to become a citizen. You can gain citizenship in other ways, such as being born in the U.S., being the child of a parent who naturalizes, or being the child of U.S. citizens who had you while they were abroad.
Requirements for the Naturalization Process
There are general requirements you’ll need to adhere to when applying for citizenship in Florida, including the following:
- Be at least 18 years old when you fill out Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization
- Have a green card – aka be a permanent resident – for five years (at least)
- Have lived in Florida for at least three months prior to filing
- Be a continuous resident in the U.S. for at least five years prior to filing for Form N-400
- Be physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months during those five years
- Be able to understand U.S. history and civics on a basic level
- Be able to write, read, and speak basic English unless you are applicable for an exemption
- Show an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
- Have a good moral character
You’ll need to keep in mind that you’ll have to pay $725 for the naturalization form and to complete the biometrics services.
Getting a Green Card
You may be wondering: how do I get a green card in the first place?
There are different ways to get a green card, including through:
- Your family
- If you’re a human trafficking or crime victim
- Your work
- If you’re a special immigrant
- If you’ve been in the U.S. continuously since before Jan. 1, 1972
For example, if your spouse is a U.S. citizen, you’re the unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen, or you’re the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old, you could be eligible to apply for your green card. If you get it through employment, it could be that you’re a first, second, or third preference immigrant worker.
Just be aware that if you leave the U.S. for more than six months while you have a green card, you could lose your lawful permanent resident status and not be eligible to apply for citizenship. It’s a good idea to be in touch with a Florida immigration attorney to help you apply for your green card and, eventually, naturalization, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Contact a Florida Immigration Attorney
Do you have questions about gaining naturalization or citizenship? 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.