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Gaining U.S. citizenship can provide many opportunities for a resident of the United States. Among these are access to a U.S. passport, the right to vote in public elections, and protection from deportation. However, becoming an American Citizen requires a few steps, from establishing your eligibility to filing, fingerprinting, attending an interview, passing tests of your knowledge of English and of U.S. civics, and attending an oath ceremony.

As a lawful permanent resident, you must meet additional requirements in order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship. These concern the length of time you’ve spent in the U.S. as a green card holder and your good moral character.

The attorneys at Garces Grabler & Lebrocq are experienced in complex Naturalization cases. We take great care to ensure that your Naturalization application and supporting documentation are prepared accurately and filed with USCIS in a timely and efficient manner. We will also coach you through test and interview preparation to ensure the best outcome in your U.S. Citizenship journey. Contact us for a consultation to determine if you are eligible for Naturalization.

The Process of Becoming a U.S. Citizen

In order to qualify for naturalization, you must qualify for the following:


After receiving lawful permanent residency (or conditional residency), the applicant must have continuously resided in the United States for at least five (5) years. At least one half of this period the applicant must have been physically in the U.S. or having obtained residency through marriage to a U.S. citizen for at least three (3) years. The applicant also must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half of this 3-year period of time.

Armed Forces

If the applicant served in the U.S. Armed Forces, who is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) with at least 3 years of residency and at least one half of this time and who must have been physically in the U.S., or in the service of the armed forces, and who is either on active duty or filing within 6 months of honorable discharge, or the applicant served during a period of recognized hostilities and enlisted or re-enlisted in the U.S. (you do not need to be a LPR).

AND the applicant must have resided continuously in the State in which the petition is filed for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the petition for naturalization.

AND continuous residency in the U.S. from the date petition is filed up at the time of admission to citizenship.

Absences out of the U.S.

Absences from the U.S. of six (6) months or less does not affect the continuous residence. If the absence is greater than six (6) months but less than one year there is a presumptive break of residency, but the applicant can overcome this presumption by establishing that he did not abandon his U.S. residence. An absence of over one year absolutely breaks the continuity of residence unless the applicant is employed by certain institutions or religious organizations.

Reading and Writing Simple English

All applicants must meet this requirement except for these exceptions:

  1. Persons who are physically ill and because of a disability such as deafness, blindness, or paralysis.
  2. Persons who are over fifty years old on the date of filing and have lived in the U.S. for a total of 20 years after receiving the residency.
  3. Persons who are over 55 years of age and have had their residency for over 15 years on the date of filing.
  4. They have passed this test when they received their residency through amnesty.

Good Moral Character

Good moral character must be shown for the required period of residence.

U.S. History/Civics Exam

Unless disabled, everyone has to take a test to establish that they have a fundamental knowledge of U.S. history and government.

Our firm can determine if you qualify for naturalization, qualify for any exemptions, prepare the application for you, file it, prepare you for the interview, and attend the interview.


An applicant can take the test 2 times, if the applicant fails 2 times, an appeal may be filed and another interview scheduled.

To speak with an experienced Immigration attorney immediately call us toll free at 1–800–923–3456 or contact us online to discuss your legal matter today.


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