Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which an individual who was not born in the US, becomes a US Citizen.  Those eligible to apply to become US Citizens are:

  • Applicants who have been permanent residents for at least 5 years ( 3 years in the case of a spouse of a US Citizen),
  • Those who have served in the US armed forces or who have performed certain military services, or
  • Children born outside the US to a US Citizen parent.

Applicants must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • Able to speak, write and read English and possess adequate knowledge of US History and Government (exceptions apply to certain age groups and disabilities)
  • A person of good moral character (for most applicants)
  • Be favorably disposed to the US and to the Constitution of the US, and
  • If applying as a permanent resident, in most cases, meet the requirements for physical presence and continuous residence.

Most applicants are required to show good moral character for a certain period (usually 5 years) preceding application for Naturalization. If you are found to have committed, or, in some circumstances, admit to having committed certain crimes, you will be deemed to not possess good moral character. Certain convictions create a permanent bar to naturalization. Furthermore, depending on the type of crime committed, you may find yourself in removal proceedings after submitting an application for naturalization.

Children born to US Citizen Parents

A child born to a US Citizen parent may be eligible to obtain Citizenship. Many such children acquire citizenship by birth to US Citizen parent(s) or automatically after birth.

Citizen by birth:
  • The child was born outside the US to a US Citizen parent.
  • The child is residing abroad  in the legal and physical custody of the US Citizen parent.
  • The US Citizen parent, prior to the birth of such person, resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years at least 2 of which was after his/her 14th birthday.
  • If born out of wedlock, the biological father’s paternity must have been established by court, through acknowledgment under oath or through legitimization consistent with US immigration Laws.  Further the father must have agreed in writing to provide financial support for the child.
  • The child is temporarily lawfully present in the US.
Automatic Citizenship:
  • The child must be residing in the US in the legal and physical custody of the US Citizen parent after having been admitted as a lawful permanent resident.
  • The child was under the age of 18 or not yet born on February 27, 2001.
  • If adopted, the child must satisfy all the legal requirements of 320 INA sect. 101(b)(1).
  • If born out of wedlock, the child must have been legitimated while in the legal custody of the legitimating US Citizen parent and while under the age of 16.

For those under 18 between December 24, 1952 and February 26, 2001 with some exceptions, the child must have been residing as a permanent resident in the U.S. and both parents must have naturalized before the child’s 18th birthday.


Applicants for Naturalization with a history of arrests or convictions will benefit from having an attorney with knowledge of both criminal and immigration matters. Avoid being placed in removal proceedings or having a delay or rejection of your application by contacting Orlando Citizenship Lawyer Natalie D. Hall, P.A. today. If you’re eligible to apply to become a U.S. Citizen and are in the Orlando, Winter Park or surrounding areas you may contact us for a Case evaluation