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Citizenship Eligibility Requirements
Before an individual applies for naturalization, he or she must meet a few requirements. Depending on the individual’s situation, there are different requirements that may apply. General requirements for naturalization are below.
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
Immigration lawyers are committed to helping those seeking visas to gain permanent residency and citizenship in the U.S.
A Visa doesn’t permit entry to the U.S., however. A visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined you’re eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.
A visa allows you to travel to the United States as far as the port of entry (airport or land border crossing) and ask the immigration officer to allow you to enter the country. Only the immigration officer has the authority to permit you to enter the United States. He or she decides how long you can stay for any particular visit. Immigration matters are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Visas: Immigrant / Nonimmigrant
Immigrant Visas are for people who intend to live permanently in the U.S. Nonimmigrant visas are for people with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.
Immigrants to the U.S.
Immigrating to the United States to live here permanently is an important, and complex decision. This section provides information to help foreign citizens desiring to permanently immigrate to determine the visas, requirements, and related materials they will need to apply to immigrate to the United States. For information on who can immigrate to the U.S., click on Visa Types for Immigrants . Click on the links below for information on visa forms, the Affidavit of Support, other requirements, and related materials for immigrants.
Effective March 20, 2007, consular posts abroad are again authorized to accept petitions for immediate relative immigrant classification from American citizens who are resident in their consular districts, U.S. service members, emergency cases involving life and death or health and safety considerations, and others determined to be in the national interest. See announcement about consular offices abroad accepting I-130 immigrant visa petitions.
Immigrant Visa Processing – The National Visa Center (NVC)
After the immigrant petition has been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing . NVC plays an important role in the next steps of the U.S. immigration process. NVC provides instructions to petitioners and sponsors, and receives from sponsors, the required Affidavit of Support forms, fees, other required documents, and much more. For numerically limited family preference petitions, NVC contacts the petitioner once the petition’s immigration wait nears end, and the priority date is about to come current .
Learn more about the Affidavit of Support information and the National Visa Center .
See Visa Information for Immigrants for more information about the Visa Bulletin, required vaccinations, DNA testing and more.
Nonimmigrant Visas are for international travelers, (citizens of other countries), coming to the U.S. temporarily. This visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security immigration inspector to enter the U.S. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
International travelers come to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. While in the U.S., temporary visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their nonimmigrant visa was issued, with few exceptions. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see Nonimmigrant Visa Classifications on the USCIS website. The Consular Officer at your embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need, when you apply.
Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you.
Apply for your Visa well in advance of your travel!
Important steps to remember:
- Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.
- Review the visa wait times information for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy and consular section worldwide available on our website at Visa Wait Times. Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and any other instructions.
- Plan on an interview at the embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. As part of the visa interview, a quick fingerprint scan should be expected. Applicants who need additional screening are informed during the application process.
Information Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service