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United States Citizenship

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Citizenship Through Parents

A person is a citizen at birth when born outside the U.S. under the following circumstances:

  • Both parents were U.S. citizens when the person was born and at least one of the parents lived in the United States at some point in their life. The record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. A person in this scenario may also apply for a passport to have his citizenship recognized. If he/she needs additional proof of citizenship, he/she may file an “Application for Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600 for natural offspring or Form N-643 for adoptees) with the USCIS to get a Certificate of Citizenship; or,
  • One parent was a U.S. citizen when the person was born and the citizen parent lived at least five years in the United States before he was born, where at least two of the five years were after the citizen parent attained the age of fourteen. The record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. A person in this scenario may also apply for a passport to have his citizenship recognized. If he needs additional proof of citizenship, he may file a Form N-600 for natural offspring or a N-643 for adoptees with the USCIS to get a Certificate of Citizenship.

Naturalization Exam

The prospective citizen must have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government. This is determined by the administration of a multiple choice test. In general, those exempt from the English requirement must still meet this requirement. Exceptions are those who are mentally and physically impaired and special considerations can be given to those who are exempt from the English requirement based on age and length of stay. Those special considerations are usually a test in modified form.

Naturalization for Military Members

If an alien served in the U.S. military for at least three years and is a lawful permanent resident, then he is excused from the regular residence requirements if an application for naturalization is filed while the applicant is still serving or within six months of an honorable discharge. To be eligible for this exemption, an applicant must:

  1. have served honorably or separated under honorable conditions;
  2. completed three years or more of military service;
  3. be a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination on the application;
  4. establish good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable.

 

Applicants who file for naturalization more than six months after termination of three years of service in the U.S. military may count any periods of honorable service as continuous residence or physical presence in the United States.

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