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Naturalization eligibility

Georgia residents may wonder what requirements they need to meet in order to become naturalized U.S. citizens. The answer differs depending on whether the person is a U.S. national, a member of the armed forces currently serving or recently honorably separated from service, a military member who served during an active period of hostility, a lawful permanent resident who married a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident who immigrated in a manner other than marriage.

People who became lawful permanent residents after marrying a U.S. citizen are eligible to apply for naturalization as a U.S. citizen after residing with the spouse for three years. Those who have been lawful permanent residents for a minimum of five years and who have no special circumstances are eligible to apply after five years. U.S. nationals do not need to become lawful permanent residents and may apply for naturalization at any time.

People who are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or have been honorably discharged within six months may apply for naturalization, but they must be a lawful permanent resident in order to do so. Members under this category must also have served a minimum of one year. Those who served on active duty for even one day in a period of active hostility as defined by the government may apply, and lawful permanent residence status is not required.

In addition to application eligibility, a person who applies for naturalization should expect to take a test regarding U.S. government and civics. They are also required to have a good understanding of the English language, and will be required to attend a ceremony and take an oath of allegiance to the United States. People who are interested in becoming naturalized citizens may want to seek out the help of an immigration and naturalization attorney.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "A Guide to Naturalization", accessed on Jan. 12, 2015

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