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Catholic Legal Services
Citizenship & Application Requirements

 

To become a U.S. citizen you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older

  • You must have lived with a green card for 5 years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen)

  • You must be a person of “good moral character”

  • You must take a loyalty oath to the United States and support the Constitution and form of government of the United States

 

You must complete an application that includes the following information:

  • Any arrests you may have had

  • Where you worked during the last 5 years

  • Where you lived during the last 5 years

  • Where you traveled outside of the United States over the last 5 years

 

You must be able to speak, read, and write basic English and be able to answer some basic questions about United States history and civics. The application fee is $725. Some people are eligible to have this fee waived. For more information, click here.

 

Some people do not have to speak English at all or answer any questions about United States history and civics, depending on many factors such as their age, time in the U.S. as green card holders, and if they have a disability. For more information about exceptions accommodations, and your eligibility, click here.

 

Why Become a Citizen?

 

Travel with a U.S. Passport 
As a U.S. citizen, you can travel for any amount of time outside of the U.S. and can even live abroad for any length of time without difficulty upon re-entering the country. A U.S. passport also enables you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas.

 

Bring family members to the U.S. 
U.S. citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country. As a U.S. citizen, you can help your family live legally in this country.

 

Obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age
Children under the age of 18 who are lawful permanent residents automatically become U.S. citizens when their parents naturalize. Additionally, in most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.

 

Protection from Deportation
Becoming a U.S. citizen protects you and your children from deportation. As a lawful permanent resident, certain criminal convictions could make you deportable, and some actions put LPRs at risk for permanent consequences such as deportation.

 

The Right to Vote
You live here, you work here and pay taxes, yet you still don’t have a say in who represents you and the laws of this country. As a citizen you have a voice and the ability to vote.

 

Increased Opportunities
Certain jobs and benefits are only available to U.S. citizens. Most jobs with the federal government require U.S. citizenship. On average, U.S. citizens earn more. You may also receive more educational opportunities. Financial aid grants, including college scholarships, are only available to U.S. citizens.