United States Citizenship
Our U.S. citizenship lawyers have assisted thousands of persons in obtaining US citizenship through naturalization across the United States during the past 30 years. In the late 1970s, Attorney Carl Shusterman worked as an INS Citizenship Attorney in Los Angeles where he interviewed thousands of applicants for naturalization and for derivative citizenship.
On this page, we explain how to obtain United States citizenship. While generally only lawful permanent residents may apply for naturalization, there are certain narrow exceptions to this rule.
We provide videos, articles and links explaining who is eligible for naturalization as well as the application procedures, including an online, self-correcting history and government test.
Our citizenship attorneys have many years of experience helping persons in completing their N-400 applications, passing the naturalization test and accompanying them to their interviews.
When Carl Shusterman served an INS Citizenship Attorney, he established a program in which INS Attorneys made hundreds of appearances at evening citizenship classes in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California in order to educate the adult school students about naturalization requirements and procedures.
Generally, in order to be eligible to naturalize, a person must:
- Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for 5 years, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen for a minimum of the 3 years (although there are certain exceptions to this requirement for persons who have honorable service in the U.S. Armed Forces);
- Be physically present in the United States for over 50% of the required residency period;
- Be a person of good moral character;
- Take an oath of loyalty to the United States;
- Be able to speak, read and write simple words and phrases in the English language (although there are certain exceptions to this rule); and
- Pass a test in U.S. history and government.
U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouses, parents, sons and daughters as well as brothers and sisters for lawful permanent residence in the U.S.
Some persons may obtain U.S. citizenship at birth, or while they are minors, through their U.S. citizen parents or grandparents. This is known as acquiring U.S. citizenship through acquisition or derivation. We have posted the government’s four handy citizenship charts on our web site.
It is also possible to have your naturalization revoked. Finally, we link to articles regarding who is eligible to be a “dual” citizen, a citizen of more than one country.
“Last June 30, 2011, I proudly became a citizen of the United States of America thanks to God and with the invaluable help of the law offices of Carl Shusterman, particularly Carl Shusterman and Atty. Amy Prokop and paralegal Ana Cruz..” (More client reviews…)
United States Citizenship is divided into the following subtopics:
- Naturalization: General Information
- Success Stories
- Videos: How To Become a U.S. Citizen
- Expedited Naturalization through Military Service
- Other Citizenship Issues
- Practice Advisories
NATURALIZATION: GENERAL INFORMATION
- USCIS Policy Manual: Citizenship and Naturalization
- USCIS Operating Instructions
- Thinking About Applying for Naturalization? (USCIS)
- How Do I Apply for U.S. Citizenship? (USCIS)
- Download Citizenship Forms
- A Guide to Naturalization (USCIS)
- Educational Resources for the New Naturalization Test (USCIS)
- Study Materials for the Civics Test (USCIS)
- Civics Questions for the Naturalization Test (USCIS)
- Quick Civics Lessons for the New Naturalization Test (USCIS)
- Naturalization Self Test (USCIS)
- The Citizenship Interview and Test (USCIS)
- What to Bring to Your Naturalization Interview
- Interpretations of Citizenship Laws and Court Decisions (USCIS)
- The Citizen’s Almanac (USCIS)
- Naturalization: Waivers, Exceptions and Special Cases (USCIS)
- Register for Selective Service Online (In English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean & Vietnamese)
- Effect of Failure to Register for Selective Service on Naturalization Eligibility
- Monthly Statistical Reports on Applications for Benefits and N-400 Naturalization Benefits (USCIS)
- Interpretations of Citizenship Laws and Court Decisions (USCIS)
- USCIS Update: Change of Filing Location for Form N-400 (12-17-09)
- Conditional Permanent Residents and Naturalization under Section 319(b) of the Act (USCIS) (8-04-09)
- Guidance on Continuous Residence, Physical Presence, and Overseas Naturalization (USCIS) (8-15-08)
- Procedures for Handling Naturalization Applications of Aliens Who Voted Unlawfully or Falsely Represented Themselves as U.S. Citizens by Voting or Registering to Vote (USCIS) (5-07-02)
- From Deportation Proceedings to U.S. Citizenship (March 2009)
- Receiving a U.S. Passport through an Absent Father (December 2008)
- Helping A Client Become a U.S. Citizen (August 2008)
- Citizenship – Military Service Exemption (June 2007)
- U.S. Citizenship Based on Your Ancestors (June 2006)
- Citizenship Through Parents (February 2000)
- Private Romero’s 50-Year Odyssey to U.S. Citizenship
- Illegal Marine Gains Green Card and Citizenship
VIDEOS: HOW TO BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN
- How to Become a U.S. Citizen (Part 1)
This video explains the basics of applying for U.S. citizenship and answers questions such as: How long do you have to have a green card to apply? Do you qualify as a person of “good moral character”?
- How to Become a U.S. Citizen (Part 2)
In the second part of this video, Attorney Shusterman answers more questions, including: Can you become a dual citizen? Should you go to the interview alone or should you hire an attorney to come with you?
- How to Obtain Citizenship Through Your Parents and Grandparents
This video explains how to obtain U.S. citizenship through your U.S. citizen parents or grandparents, known as derivative citizenship.
EXPEDITED NATURALIZATION THROUGH MILITARY SERVICE
- F and M Students and MAVNI: A Guide for Designated School Officials (ICE)
- MAVNI Information Sheet For Language Recruits (U.S. Army)
- Request MAVNI Information Pack (U.S. Army)
- Citizenship for Military Members & Dependents (USCIS)
- Naturalization Information for Military Personnel (USCIS)
- Enlist in the Army (U.S. Army)
- The Army’s New Recruitment Program for Persons with Temporary Visas (2-23-09)
- Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act (S.2840) – (Passed by House and Senate, Signed by President on 10-9-08)
- USCIS Launches Toll-Free Military Help Line (8-13-07)
- Gallarde v. INS (9th Cr. 5-11-07)
- USCIS Fact Sheet: Military Naturalizations (6-14-06)
- INS Memo: Implementation of Executive Order 13269 (7-17-02)
- INS Memo: Effect of Failure to Register for Selective Service on Eligibility for Naturalization (6-18-99)
OTHER CITIZENSHIP RESOURCES
- Citizenship and Nationality (State Department)
- Citizenship Laws of the World
- Ending Birthright Citizenship Would be Costly to Americans (3-5-12)
- Dual Citizenship FAQ (by Rich Wales)
- Dual Nationality (State Department)
- Appeals Court, In En Banc Decision, Rules That Attorney General Lacks Authority to Revoke Naturalization (7-20-00)
- Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship (State Department)
- Reclaiming Lost Citizenship
- How to Get Judicial Relief Under 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b) for a Stalled Naturalization Application (8-25-10)
- Circumventing Naturalization Delays: How to get Judicial Relief for a Stalled Naturalization Application (8-31-09)
- Terminating Removal Proceedings to Pursue Naturalization before DHS: Strategies for Challenging Matter of Acosta Hidalgo (10-1-09)