The basic requirements for naturalization applicants are as follows:

  • Five years as permanent residence;
  • Timely payment of all taxes and child support;
  • Good moral character and no criminal conviction in the last 5 years;
  • Successful completion of all court supervision programs, such as probation, prior to filing of application;
  • Minimum understanding of the English language (for example, being able to read and answer all of the test and application questions;
  • For any male who became a permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age, proof of Selective Service registration.




In certain cases, it is possible to derive U.S. citizenship if one or both of your parents are American citizens. The rules that allow for derivative citizenship have changed over the years. For this reason, it is necessary to determine the law of nationality applicable to your case. In most derivative nationality cases, there are two key aspects: Physical presence of the U.S. parent(s) in the United States prior to the birth of the applicant, and legitimation, mostly relevant when the father is the U.S. parent. 

It is important to also consider that some minor children of legal permanent residents (LPR) will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship if the LPR parent becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The U.S. citizenship rules now facilitate the acquisition of U.S. citizenship by children of American citizens who reside abroad and do not meet the physical presence requirement mentioned above. In certain cases, it is possible to cover such physical presence requirement through a U.S grandparent, who resided in the U.S. prior to applicant’s birth.

As you can see, derivative or automatic U.S. citizenship is a complex subject that requires the advice of a competent and experienced lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you believe that you or your children qualify for this nationality benefit




Permanent Residents may be eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship after residing in the U.S. for a number of years. However, permanent residents must make sure they fulfill all other eligibility requirements, such as payment of taxes and child support or registration in the selective services, if applicable, prior to applying for U.S. citizenship.

 Also, permanent resident may apply for naturalization after only three years as permanent residents if they during that time they have been married to a U.S. citizen. Likewise, permanent residents may be exempt from the civics and history test requirements depending on their age and length of permanent residency in the US.

As you case see, our attorneys at Barbeito & Hiatt are experienced in advising Naturalization applicants not only as to the eligibility requirements, but also as to the application process and the issues the adjudicating officer will be addressing during the naturalization interview.

If you have questions as to your eligibility for citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us at