Most people who are lawful permanent residents or green card holders become citizens after they have been residents for 5 or more years.  While the process can be lengthy, people benefit by having the right to vote and obtain certain government benefits


  • Be a lawful permanent resident for 5 years (or less for those married to US citizens or those who serve in the US armed forces in certain times)
  • Be able to read and write English (except in some special instances)
  • Be able to show knowledge of US history and government principles
  • Be a person of good moral character for the preceding 5 year period
  • Be physically present in the US for most of the preceding 5 year period


  • File an application with USCIS
  • Go to a biometrics appointment
  • Study for the test
  • Go to an interview where you will be tested
  • Agree to the oath and be sworn in during a special ceremony


  • Not passing the test
  • Having an arrest record with aggravated felonies
  • Not demonstrating good moral character
  • Not residing in the US for most of the proscribed period
  • Not filing income tax returns or owing the IRS money

It is helpful to have a licensed immigration attorney guide you through the process.  At Brodzki Jacobs & Brook, our immigration attorneys have over 25 years of combined experience.  We are members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association and stay up to date on current events affecting the immigration community.