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Path to US Citizenship after Obtaining a Green Card

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card, commonly known as the permanent resident card, is issued to residents as proof that they are legally authorized to work and live in the United States. You must have your valid Green Card in your possession at all times.

When you receive your Green Card, it is expected that you abide by the laws and policies of being a permanent resident otherwise it can be revoked. A few common circumstances that warrant a revocation of your Green Card would be committing a crime or leaving the United States for more than one year. If your Green Card is revoked, you lose your ability to apply for Naturalization.

How do I obtain my citizenship?

After you receive your Green Card, you can potentially become a full United States citizen under the specific criterion listed below:
1. Be a Green Card holder for at least five years.
2. Be 18 or older at the time of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
3. Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction for at least three months prior to applying for naturalization.
4. Have continuous residency and presence in the United States for at least five years.
5. Be present for at least thirty months out of five years before applying for naturalization.
6. Be able to read, write, and speak English and also have an understanding of United States history, civics, and government.
7. “Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.”

After you fulfill all the criteria and your application is approved, USCIS will take your biometrics, including fingerprints, photo, and signature to conduct a background check. Afterward, they will schedule an interview with you where you will be questioned by a USCIS Officer.

The interview includes questions about your application and background, you are also expected to take an English and civics test. The test has three separate components: reading, writing and speaking. Typically, if everything goes well, the officer will inform you that your application will be approved.

Taking the Oath

After you complete your interview and your application has been approved, you will be scheduled to take your Oath of Allegiance. You cannot be a US Citizen if you do not take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. At the ceremony, you will return your Permanent Resident Card and receive your certificate of Naturalization.

My spouse is a US Citizen, how do I obtain my citizenship as a Green Card holder?

Under Section 319a of the Immigration and Nationality Act, spouses of US citizens have the same criterion as a regular green card holder. However, their waiting period as a permanent resident is three years instead of five.

How can Morales & Sparks help?

Applying for Naturalization can be a long and overwhelming process, and we here at Morales & Sparks are dedicated to relieving your stresses and worries. We have highly trained professionals that are some of the best in the state to help you with your path to citizenship.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us at any time to schedule an appointment. You can call us at (512) 930-5511 or visit our website and schedule a consultation. You can contact one of our lawyers 24 hours a day. We have law offices in Central Texas and we provide all our services in English or Spanish.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general information and is not to be constituted as legal advice. If you need help with a specific issue, please seek the advice of an attorney.