Applying for Citizenship from Outside America

Posted on October 4, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Non-U.S. citizens can gain American citizenship through a process called Naturalization.

The process of naturalization begins with permanent residency. Being a green card holder (permanent resident) for a certain period of time is one of the main requirements for citizenship. The requirements will differ depending on your situation.

Under most circumstances, you must be in the U.S. when you apply for citizenship.

U.S. Citizenship General Requirements

If you are not the spouse of a U.S. citizen and you are not in the military, the general requirements for citizenship are that you must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for five years
  • Have not left the country for more than six months
  • Have remained in the U.S. for at least 30 months in the last five years
  • Have lived in the district or state where you are applying for at least three months
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have basic knowledge of English and U.S. government

If you are the spouse of U.S citizen and have been living with the same U.S. citizen, the general requirements for citizenship are that you must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for three years
  • Have not left the country for more than six months
  • Have remained in the U.S. for at least 18 months in the last three years
  • Have lived in the district or state where you are applying for at least three months
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have basic knowledge of English and U.S. government

Note: In order for the above to apply, your U.S. citizen spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for the past three years.

If you are in the U.S. military and have served for at least a year, the general requirements for citizenship are that you must:

  • Have been a permanent resident for one year
  • Have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for one year if you are in the military
  • Have honorable service

Citizenship Application and working abroad

U.S. military personnel and other applicants who are working abroad are exempt from continuous residence requirements. The applicants must be working for:

  • The U.S. government
  • Contractors of the U.S. government
  • A recognized American Institution of research
  • A public international organization
  • An organization designed under the International Immunities Act

If working outside the U.S. for one of the above, you must file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes.

 


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