Green Card Holders Road to Citizenship


Naturalization of Business-Related Legal Permanent Residents

While not every Green Card beneficiary wants to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, there are several factors that a Legal Permanent Resident should consider. A Green Card is a privilege, not a right. What this means in plain English is that LPR status can be revoked. The Department of Homeland Security may revoke a Green Card for a variety of reasons, which include failing to file U.S. Taxes, lying to an immigration official, committing certain crimes, attempting to vote in a U.S. election or claiming that you are a U.S. Citizen.

Citizenship through naturalization, by contrast, cannot be revoked except in extreme circumstances that apply to all U.S. Citizens. Upon naturalization, the new U.S. Citizen has the right to vote in U.S. elections, can bring certain family members to the U.S. permanently more quickly and easily, can travel abroad and re-enter the U.S. with a U.S. passport and can obtain citizenship for children born abroad. These are rights in addition to the right to live and work permanently in the U.S. and to obtain public benefits from the U.S. Government.

Requirements for Naturalization

The requirements for Naturalization to a U.S. Citizen are as follows: (8 CFR 216.2).

Presence Test

  • Five years “continuous residence” as Green Card holder.
    • Travel abroad less than one continuous year do not break continuous residency requirement
  • Half that time “physically present” in the U.S.

Jurisdiction Test

  • 90 days residing in the jurisdiction.

Moral Character Test

U.S. Knowledge Test

  • Ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. INA §312(a)(1)
  • Knowledge of U.S. history and civics INA §312(a)(2)
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