Persons who have been permanent residents for five years, were physically present in the United States for at least two and a half, and have maintained continuous residence in the United States for five years may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. There is a shorter wait time for individuals who have been permanent residents for only three years while living in marital union with a U.S. citizen spouse, have been physically present in the U.S. for only half that amount of time, and have maintained continuous residence in the U.S. for three years. While the concepts of permanent residence, continuous residence and physical presence are interconnected and often confused for one another, they are distinct for naturalization purposes.
In the past, we had not urged our clients to become U.S. citizen, as many were desirous of retaining the citizenship of their country of origin. However, because of changes in the immigration law, creating new basis for exclusion and deportation, it is now our recommendation that all of our clients consider attainment of U.S. citizenship if they plan on being in the United States indefinitely for the future. This is particularly important for young people who are more likely to find that experimenting with drugs or other modern lifestyle decisions can ultimately become basis for exclusion or deportation from the country. If you are interested in pursuing your U.S. citizenship, I recommend that you make an appointment to visit with us at your convenience so that we can evaluate the benefits and determine the appropriate course of action to be taken for you.