You’ve researched the process of getting a green card, you know what kind of questions to expect, and you know how to renew it when the time comes. But what comes after? After all, when people immigrate to America, they are looking not just to be here, they want to be American. That means becoming a citizen, and that’s more than just holding a green card. This time on the Apfel & Associates blog, we are looking at the path from green card to citizenship and beyond!

Green Card to Citizenship and Beyond

The first step on the path to citizenship is to have a green card. If you haven’t already gotten one of those, check out our blog on the subject and get the process going. Once you have it you need to have it for at least 5 years.

After 5 years, a green card holder can then fill out the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. But before that happens, there are some requirements that any would be American citizen must meet.

During those 5 years, it is necessary for the citizen hopeful to meet several criteria:

  • Live in the state (or USCIS district) for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the N-400 application. Students, if financially dependent on their parents, may apply for naturalization where their family lives otherwise where they attend school.
  • Be present physically in the United States for at least 30 months (2 ½ years) of the 5 years immediately prior to filing the N-400.
  • Have held residence as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately prior to filing.
  • Reside within the U.S. for the duration from date of application until the time of naturalization.
  • Able to read, write, and speak English, and have an understanding of the U.S. government and history.

So, once you’ve got your green card, it is important to continuously be working toward the goal of citizenship. You have at least five years ahead of you to better your English, to gain an understanding of the history and government of the U.S., the why and how things work in the country. This will help you navigate the process from green card to citizenship. When the time comes, you’ll be prepared.

Next time on the Apfel & Associates blog, we’ll take a closer look at the N-400 Form, what you’ll need to fill it out and all the necessary steps to take! If you’re just beginning your immigration journey, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate the path alone. Hiring an expert immigration lawyer like Apfel & Associates can make all the difference. Contact us and together we can take you through the process, from green card to citizenship and beyond!

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