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N-400 Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Benefits
1. A citizen can vote in national and local elections
2. U.S. citizen can exit and enter the U.S. without any regard to time spent out of the U.S. In addition, citizens receive U.S. government protection and assistance when abroad.
3. U.S. citizen can petition for the admission of alien relatives to the U.S.
4. U.S. citizens are entitled to enjoy more job opportunities.
5. U.S. citizens enjoy social welfare, such as medical insurance, subsidy, etc
6. U.S. citizen will not be deported facing charge.
 

General Requirements for Naturalization
1. be admitted to permanent resident status
2. continuously reside in the United States for a minimum period (normally five years)
3. reside in the state of applicant for a minimum period of three months
4. physically present in the United States for a minimum period ( at least half the period of required continuous residence)
5. have the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English
6. have knowledge of U.S. history and government
7. have good moral character
8. at least 18 years of age at the time of filing for naturalization (subject to certain exceptions)

Generally, certain lawful permanent residents married to a U.S. citizen may file for naturalization after residing continuously in the United States for three years if immediately preceding the filing of the application.

Naturalization Based on 5 years as a Permanent Resident
1. At least 18 years old
2. Reside in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years after lawful admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident
3. Have been physically present in the U.S. accumulatively for thirty months within five years

Naturalization Based on 3 years as a Permanent Resident
1. Currently Married to and living with a U.S. citizen
2. Reside in the U.S. for a continuous period of three years after lawful admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident
3. Have been physically present in the U.S. accumulatively for eighteen months within three years
4. The U.S. citizen spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the last three years
5. Have been married to and living with the same U.S. citizen for the last three years

There are also exceptions for lawful permanent residents married to U.S. citizens stationed or employed abroad. Some lawful permanent residents may not have to comply with the residence or physical presence requirements when the U.S. citizen spouse is employed by one of the following
1. the U.S. Government (including the U.S. Armed Forces)
2. American research institutes recognized by the Attorney General
3. recognized U.S. religious organizations
4. U.S. research institutions
5. an American firm engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States
6. Certain public international organizations involving the United States

Please note
1. The alien must be physically present in the U.S. at the time of naturalization
2. The alien must affirm his intention to reside in the U.S. upon completion of the citizen spouse's overseas assignment
Applicants for naturalization, who are unable to demonstrate knowledge of the English language and/or combination of impairments, may request a waiver of these educational requirements. Anyone seeking such a waiver must submit INS form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, with their N-400 Application for Naturalization. Form N-648 must be completed by licensed physician or a clinical psychologist with experience in diagnosing those with physical or mental impairments.

Remarks
1. The term Development Disability means a condition afflicting an individual who prior to their (sic) 18th birthday shows delayed development of a specific cognitive area of maturation, (reading, language, or speech) resulting in intellectual functioning so impaired as to render the individual unable to participate in the normal testing procedures for naturalization. This definition would include individuals with various forms of mental retardation and autism. The definition does not include individuals with acquired disabilities, such as those incurred through substance abuse.

2. The term Mental Impairment means a condition afflicting an individual with a primary impairment of brain function, generally associated with an organic basis upon which the diagnosis is based, resulting in an impairment of intellectual functions, including memory, orientation or judgment and thereby resulting in the individual being unable to participate in the normal testing procedures for naturalization. For example, this definition would include permanent mental impairments occurring as the result of a stroke. The definition does not include individuals whose mental disability is not the result of a physical disorder, such as mental impairments incurred through substance abuse.

3)The term Physical Disability means a condition afflicting an individual with a physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, resulting in the individual being unable to participate in the normal testing procedures for naturalization. for example, this definition would include quadriplegic individuals, unable to communicate through normal speech.

There is one category of exemption from the educational requirements for naturalization based upon age and length of lawful residence in the U.S.

Waivers due to Age/Length of Permanent Residence
1. 50/20 Rule
The English language requirement is waived for persons who are age 50 and older and have been permanent residents for at least 20 years. Such applicants will be permitted to answer questions on U.S. history and government in their native language, through an interpreter.

2. 55/15 Rule
The English language requirement is also waived for persons who are age 55 and older and have been permanent residents for at least 15 years. Such applicants will be permitted to answer questions on U.S. history and government in their native language, through an interpreter.

3. 65/20 Rule
"Special consideration" in meeting the U.S. history and government knowledge requirement is given to persons who are age 65 and older who have been permanent residents for 20 years or longer. These applicants will be expected to answer 10 questions from a list of 25"Special Consideration Question" at their INS interview. Because these applicants are also eligible for a waiver of the English language requirement, they will be permitted to use an interpreter.

 
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