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Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

  • one must have resided in the United States for at least five years continuously as a permanent resident,or three years if an individual obtained his or her green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen and remains still married;
  • the individual must have resided in the United States for 30 months during the past 5 years. Residence must also include physical presence for that period;
  • residence in a particular USCIS District for three months prior to filing;
  • an ability to read, write, and speak basic English;
  • a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • good moral character during the statutory period of required residence (5 years or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen);
  • attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
  • favorable disposition toward the United States.

Advantages of a U.S. Citizen - Citizens have much greater ability to sponsor relatives for U.S. immigration. Many government contracts and jobs require U.S. citizenship. One cannot get a voting card without becoming a citizen.

  • Acquire the right to vote. (Politicians listen to people who can vote.)
  • Immigrate other family members to the US, usually more quickly, including parents and siblings
  • Prevent risk of deportation as a precaution in the event of changes in laws, public policy changes or conviction of crimes. A non-citizen can be deported for a conviction of crime while a U.S. citizen cannot.
  • Eligibility for state and federal jobs.
  • Re-enter the U.S. more easily.
  • Ability to live outside of the U.S. for extended periods of time without losing U.S. citizenship status or rights.
  • Ability to run for public office.
  • Less residency requirements.
  • Many countries waive visa requirements for U.S. passport holders.
  • With a U.S. passport, you are eligible for U.S. citizen services and protection provided by U.S. embassies and consulates when traveling throughout the world.
  • Gain access to certain tax benefits which apply to U.S. citizens and not permanent residents.
  • Access to Social Security benefits without time restrictions.

Note: The process of naturalization can sometimes be a trap for the unprepared, resulting in removal or deportation. Old convictions, voting in the U.S., jury service, misleading information on previous immigration applications, and even one's travel history can cause the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny a naturalization application and order the detention and removal of the applicant.

Processing times vary depending on where you live. Subsequent to the application, an interview is scheduled and upon passage of the interview and a determination of the individual meeting the conditions, a swearing in oath is attended and the individual becomes a U.S. citizen.

Our office will review your qualifications, prepare application and supporting documents, and prepare you for the required interview with USCIS, and represent you at the interview if you desire.


This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

The Law Office of Janis Peterson-Lord is located in Long Beach, CA and serves clients in and around Long Beach, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia, Harbor City, Wilmington, Cerritos, Bellflower, San Pedro, Carson, Paramount, Compton, Norwalk, Woodland Hills, Torrance, Lynwood, Santa Fe Springs, South Gate, Gardena, Bell, Huntington Park, Pico Rivera, Maywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Orange County.


Immigration Lawyer Long Beach

1383 Redondo Avenue Suite Two.
Long Beach, CA 90804
(562) 494-1010