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How can I be a citizen of the United States?

If you need assistance or help with an immigration process, Lluis Law immigration lawyers can help you with whatever you need. We can assist you with requests for family immigration, asylum applications, visas and residencies based on business or investment and even representation in deportation proceedings.

Being a US citizen is the dream of many people who come to the United States to rebuild their lives or take root after emigrating from their home country. However, obtaining US citizenship for immigrants is a long process in which no mistakes should be made at the time of application because they will inexorably lead to a delay or denial of the application.

It’s very important then to have the advice and assistance of an expert immigration lawyer who will lead you on the most expeditious and safe way to obtain citizenship without risks. Here we explain in detail how the process for acquiring American citizenship is.

The two main forms foreseen by the law are: by birth and by naturalization.


Natural citizens are those who acquire US citizenship because they are born within the territory of the United States or in their jurisdiction (jus solis), or because they are the children of American parents. Even though children of immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, are born in the United States.


The other way to obtain citizenship is through the naturalization process. In this way, people who are not born in U.S. who have another nationality can become citizens and enjoy most of the constitutional rights of citizens by birth (except to run for President).

To qualify for naturalization, the applicant must first be a legal permanent resident or be married to a US citizen.

Other ways of acquiring citizenship

However there are other ways to acquire US citizenship such as:

  • Citizenship through the grandparents;
  • Citizenship through military service;
  • Some adoption cases;
  • Naturalized children who acquire automatic derived citizenship.

How is the naturalization process?

To begin the process of naturalization, it is always recommended to have the help of an expert immigration lawyer, who guides and legally represents the immigrant in this intricate way to be eligible as a US citizen.

After the lawyer decides to take the case, he verifies the legal status of the immigrant. In this way, it is ensured that it complies with all the eligibility requirements established by the Immigration Law.

The general requirements for applying for US citizenship are as follows:

  • To be permanent legal Resident or what is equal holder of a Green Card for at least 5 years.
  • To be 18 years of age or older at the time of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization to the US Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS).
  • Demonstrate that you have continuously resided in the United States for 5 years or more before filing Form N-400.
  • Demonstrate that you have physically remained in the United States for at least 30 months in the 5 years immediately preceding the filing date of Form N-400.
  • Demonstrate that you have lived no less than 3 months in the state or district with jurisdiction of the USCIS office in which you applied. The law allows students to apply for naturalization in the same city where the school they are attending or where their family lives.

After the USCIS office receives the form N-400, Application for Naturalization, it reviews and in an imperative period sends a communication in which sets the date and time of the biometric appointment where the fingerprints of the applicant are taken.

How is the citizenship test?

This is the last step in the process of acquiring US citizenship. After the biometric appointment, you must attend the citizenship interview at the USCIS office, where an agency official will also test you for your language skills (reading, writing, and oral language), as well as the test on history and government.

This test can be accompanied by your expert immigration lawyer, who must prepare it beforehand for the interview and citizenship test, so that it does not make any mistakes during the presentation and can overcome the fear that sometimes generate this type of evidence .

The citizenship examination consists of two parts:

1. Proof of civic education. From the official study guide that contains 100 questions about US history and government, the USCIS officer chooses 10 questions from which you must correctly answer at least 6 in English to pass the exam.

2. Proof of English. This exam consists of three parts: conversation, reading and writing.

Oral examination. It will measure the applicant’s ability to speak English correctly.

Reading test. You should read one or two sentences correctly in English.

Writing test. The applicant must write correctly in English between one and three sentences, as indicated by the USCIS official.

This test is mandatory for all applicants, unless you are eligible for an exemption for disability or age (over 50 years). Study materials for the exam are available in both English and Spanish on the USCIS

If USCIS approves the interview and the examination, you will receive a notice to attend the swearing-in ceremony. The agency will give you a certificate that makes you a citizen of the United States, from then on.

Immediately after the citizenship oath, you can apply for a US passport.

Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities

In gaining citizenship, the immigrant acquires a series of rights and responsibilities that seal his commitment to the nation and its form of government. These rights / benefits and duties are as follows:


  • Freedom of expression;
  • Freedom of worship or belief;
  • Right to work and to apply for employment;
  • Right to vote to elect public officials;
  • Right to run for positions of popular choice;
  • The right to a fair trial and a jury;
  • Freedom to choose the type of life that best considers for their happiness.


  • Support and defend at all times the Constitution;
  • Respect and obey laws (federal, state and local);
  • Pay taxes to the government;
  • Participate as a jury when requested;
  • Stay informed and help solve community problems;
  • Participate as an active part in the democratic process;
  • Defend the country in case of need;
  • Respect the opinions, beliefs and rights of others;
  • Participate in community activities.

Whatever your immigration and immigration needs, Lluis Law immigration lawyers have more than 50 years of experience successfully representing immigrants in the Los Angeles area. Call for a free consultation at our telephone number (213) 320-0777.

Address: 205 South Broadway, Suite 1000 Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tel: (213) 687-4412 Fax: (213) 687-3441.