Jethmalani & Nallaseth PLLC



If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth. To become a citizen at birth, you must have been born in the United States or certain territories/outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR had a parent(s) who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements. And to become a citizen after birth, you must, apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents and apply for naturalization.

How We Can Help You

  • Our firm will help determine an individual’s eligibility for U.S. citizenship through naturalization

  • We advise individuals and families planning for naturalization on issues of eligibility

  • We file documents on behalf of clients eligible for U.S. citizenship through naturalization

  • The naturalization process can present complex situations and unforeseen complication. In these cases, we will assess the merits of the case and represent individuals seeking citizenship

Naturalization for Spouse of U.S. Citizens

The alien spouse of a U.S. citizen is issued a ‘conditional’ green card for a period of two years. At the end of this period, for the conditions to be removed, the marriage must still be ‘alive’. The couple must show that they have been living together in the same place, share their financial assets, travel together and if possible, have had children. These conditions have been placed to avoid ‘fraud’ or ‘sham’ marriages, where people enter into a convenience marriage only for the much desired green card.

Removal of the above condition, must be applied for by jointly filing Form I-751 within a 90 day period before expiration of the two years. USCIS may sometimes take two years or more to approve the I-751. However, after being resident in the U.S. for 3 years, the spouse of a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for naturalization. He/she may put in his/her papers for naturalization two years nine months after receiving his/her lawful permanent status. USCIS advises that it is permissible for a conditional resident to apply for naturalization while the I-751 application is still pending with it. However, it is likely that USCIS will keep the naturalization application pending until the conditions are removed. Conditional resident spouses can therefore apply for citizenship in a timely manner, and hopefully have their I-751 applications approved before the citizenship interview.

Naturalization Through Permanent Residence 

This is the most common path to U.S. citizenship, which allows a green card holder (permanent resident) of at least 5 years to apply for naturalization.

If you are a green card holder of at least 5 years, you must meet the following requirements in order to apply for naturalization:  

  • Be 18 or older at the time of filing

  • Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

  • Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application. Students may apply for naturalization either where they go to school or where their family lives (if they are still financially dependent on their parents).

  • Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application

  • Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application

  • Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization

  • Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

  • Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law

Citizenship Through Military Service

On November 22, 1994, President Clinton signed an executive order granting expedited naturalization to aliens and legal permanent residents who served in active-duty status in the armed Forces of the U.S. during the Persian Gulf Conflict (August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991). For these veterans, it is not necessary to obtain permanent residence status prior to applying for citizenship.