There are several ways to obtain United States Citizenship. The Law Offices of Nishan C. Mahendran are here to help you navigate the path to U.S. citizenship. The Application for Naturalization is filed by Permanent Residents who are at least the age of 18 to obtain their United States Citizenship. Additionally, one can become a citizen via a Certificate of Citizenship, provided the person acquired citizenship by way of their parent(s) while under the age of 18. Adopted children can also file an Application for a Certificate of Citizenship or an Application for Naturalization, but they also have additional requirements than biological children. See INA 334 (Immigration and Nationality Act) for additional information.

Naturalization Requirements

General naturalization requirements include mandatory age minimum of 18 years old, already be a Permanent Resident of the United States, and furnish proof of their residence status, i.e., their Permanent Residence Card also known as their “Green Card”.


After filing the Application for Naturalization, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she is a permanent resident; has resided as a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 continuous years prior to filing for Naturalization with no absences from the United States of one year or greater, or for 3 years prior to filing if permanent residence status was obtained through their United States citizen spouse and they are still married and living with their spouse; and out of the previous three or five years (see above section) has been physically present in the United States for at least half of that time. See also INA 316 (Immigration and Nationality Act).


A person applying for naturalization must show that he or she is sympathetic to the principles put forth in the U.S. Constitution. Please see INA 316 (Immigration and Nationality Act) for additional information.

Language Requirements

Naturalization applicants must be able to speak, write, read, and understand the English language at a fundamental or basic level. Some exemptions from these requirements do exist. In general, if the applicant has lived in the country a relatively long time and is also more mature in years or if the applicant has a verifiable physical or mental impairment and is not capable of learning the language, they are exempt from this requirement. Please refer to INA 312 (Immigration and Nationality Act) for additional information.

Knowledge of History and Government Structure

Persons applying for naturalization must take a civics exam that determines the level of knowledge of the basic concepts of the history and the government structure of the U.S. that the applicant has learned thus far. Applicants who have a verifiable physical or mental impairment are exempt from this requirement, though a separate application must be completed and filed by a medical doctor to demonstrate the applicant’s impairment and why the applicant is unable to learn these subjects. Applicants who have lived in the country for a relatively long time and are older in years are given a more basic exam during their naturalization interview. See INA 312 (Immigration and Nationality Act) for additional information.

Good Moral Character

There is a good moral character requirement for all applicants for the three or five year statutory period prior to filing for naturalization. Please note that USCIS is not limited to the statutory period and can deny an applicant based on acts of bad moral character committed at any time. Moreover, if an applicant has ever been convicted of an aggravated felony, such as murder, he or she is permanently barred from naturalization.

There are also many other basis USCIS uses to find that an applicant does not have a good moral character, such as multiple criminal offenses, prostitution, drug possession, smuggling illegal aliens, gambling offenses, being habitually intoxicated, practicing polygamy, failing to pay child support, or committing immigration fraud. See also INA 316 (Immigration and Nationality Act).

Oath of Allegiance

To become a citizen, one must take the oath of allegiance. By doing so, an applicant swears to obey the laws (federal, state, local) of the U.S., support the Constitution, forsake any foreign loyalty or allegiance, and take up arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government. See also INA 337 (Immigration and Nationality Act).

How Do I File an Application for Naturalization or Citizenship?

The Law Offices of Nishan C. Mahendran, P.A. will be pleased to process your Application for Naturalization or Citizenship. Contact us online or by telephone at 954-620-2028 today. Our law office will carefully analyze your case and make recommendations on the most appropriate process for you to pursue. We then assist with preparing documents and letters and continuing the case, until you receive your Certificate of United States Citizenship or Naturalization.

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