Certain requirements must be met before you can naturalize. The first is that you must be a lawful permanent resident or green card holder. Only someone who has obtained a green card can petition to become a United States Citizen. The other requirements are:
Applicants must be 18 or older;
Residence for at least three months in the state where naturalization is filed;
Continuous residency in the United States for five years (three years for those who obtained a green card through marriage to a United States Citizen)
Continuous physical presence in the United States for half of your conditional residency period; and
Good moral character.
You will also be required to pass a written and spoken English test and demonstrate basic knowledge of United States history and government. However, there are exceptions to this rule. You may be exempt from taking the English test if you are:
50 or older when you file for citizenship and have been a green card holder for 20 years; or
You are 55 or older and have lived in the United States as a green card holder for 15 years.
Even if you qualify for exemption from the English test, you will still be required to pass the civics test for naturalization. If you are concerned that you or a loved one will not be able to pass the civics test because of a medical disability, talk with your attorney about your concerns.
Naturalization can be an extremely complicated process for individuals with criminal convictions, unpaid child support, a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or long stays outside of the United States. Barriers like these to citizenship can be explained and overcome with the help of an attorney.