Becoming a citizen of the United States is a complicated and time-consuming process. In most cases, an immigrant who wants to become a naturalized U.S. citizen must reside in this country for five years and remain physically present in the U.S. for 30 months within that five-year period; however, there are several exceptions to this rule, and if one of those exceptions applies to your situation, you may be able to become a U.S. citizen without meeting the physical presence requirement.
In this article, we’ll explain five of those exceptions.
If you believe that you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen, contact my office. From fingerprinting to civic tests to interviews to filing the N400 form, there are several steps involved in becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. As your immigration lawyer, I will help you navigate this process, gather evidence to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements, and avoid crucial mistakes. If you would like to speak with an immigration attorney in New Jersey, call me today at 973-453-2009.
Let’s examine a few ways to qualify for U.S. citizenship without meeting the physical presence requirement:
- Marrying a U.S. Citizen
If you have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) in the U.S. for three years and you have been married and are currently married to a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for citizenship through naturalization.
Bear in mind that there are other qualifications you must meet to become a naturalized citizen through marriage. For instance, you must demonstrate that you have spent most of those three years living in the U.S., you have good moral character, and you can write, read, and speak English. You must also pass a U.S. civics test. According to USCIS, you will also have to demonstrate your attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, and you will have to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
You may also be eligible for naturalization if you were married to a U.S. citizen who died while in honorable active duty in the U.S. Military or Armed Forces.
- Service in the U.S. Armed Forces
If you spent three or more years serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may qualify for citizenship. You may also qualify if you performed active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or the Gulf War. For this, you might want to check out sites similar to https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/census/1910-records and get a clear picture of family history. Nonetheless, you will still have to complete the aforementioned naturalization requirements (good moral character, English proficiency, etc.).
- Being Employed in Contractual Work for the U.S. Government
If you maintain permanent residence in the United States for at least five years and you are an employee or are working under contract for the U.S. government, you may qualify for naturalization.
- Ministerial Workers and Priests
If you are a minister, priest, or other worker for a religious denomination in the United States and you have held permanent residency for five years, you may qualify for U.S. citizenship.
- You Served on a U.S. Ship or Vessel
If you served on a ship or vessel that is under the operation or ownership of the U.S. government and you’ve been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for five years, you may qualify for citizenship.
If you would like to become a naturalized citizen, contact my office to learn about the process and to discuss your immigration goals. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a consultation with a New Jersey immigration lawyer from the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.