Powell Immigration Law PC | Business, Employment and Family Immigration Law | California


A basic overview of the Process is provided here. If you have further inquiries as to the application process or whether or not this is the correct route for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Naturalization is the process in which United States citizenship is conferred non-citizens after fulfillment of the requirements as established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).



The individual must be at least eighteen years old.

Lawfully Admitted To The U.S.

The individual must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and have resided as such in the U.S. for at least five years before applying for naturalization or three years if the individual is still married to and living with the same U.S. citizen before applying.

Physical Presence In The U.S.

The individual must have resided for at least:

  • Thirty months in the U.S. during the previous five years (eighteen during the previous three years for spouses of U.S. citizens) prior to application for naturalization.
  • Three months in the USCIS district where he or she is filing the application for naturalization.

Time as a permanent resident initiates on the date the individual is lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. This date is on the individual's permanent resident card (formerly the Alien Registration Card), and the individual will have to produce a Form I-551, alien registration receipt card as proof of his or her status.

Good Moral Character

The applicant must prove that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the last five years. This requirement may be reduced to three years if the individual is married to a U.S. citizen, or one year if the armed forces expedite.

the Ability To Read, Write And Speak English

The permanent resident must be able to read, write, speak and understand common words in the English language. When filing, an applicant may claim exemption from this requirement if:

  • The applicant has been residing in the U.S. as an LPR for fifteen years or more and is at least fifty-five years of age.
  • He or she has been residing in the U.S. as an LPR for twenty years or more and are over fifty years of age.
  • The individual has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that affects one's ability to learn English.

A Knowledge And Understanding of U.S. History And Government

The permanent resident must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals concerning U.S. history as well as the principles and structure of the U.S. government.

Individuals may claim exemption from this requirement upon the date of filing if on the date of filing if they have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment affecting their ability to learn these subjects. Furthermore, if the individual has been residing in the U.S. subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least twenty years and is over sixty-five years of age, he or she will be granted more lenient consideration in satisfying this requirement.

Oath of Allegiance

For an LPR to become a citizen, he or she must take the oath of allegiance. By doing so, one swears to:

  • Support the Constitution and obey the laws of the U.S.
  • Renounce any foreign allegiance and/or foreign title.
  • Bear arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government of the U.S. when doing so is required.
    • If the applicant can establish that he or she is opposed to any type of service in armed forces due to a religious teaching or belief, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will in these cases permit a modified oath.


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