Grzeca Law Group s.c. - Immigration Lawyer
Milwaukee | Madison
Appleton | Green Bay
Family Immigration:Naturalization


Naturalization is the process of acquiring United States citizenship after birth. Applicants for citizenship must establish that they qualify to become U.S. citizens based on residence and physical presence, good moral character, knowledge of the English language, U.S. history and government, and loyalty to the U.S.

Residence and Physical Presence:

  • A permanent resident can apply for citizenship after five years from the initial date of residency. This period is shortened to three years if married to and living with a U.S. citizen. The applicant must be physically present for at least one-half of the required residency requirement.
  • In order to qualify, the applicant may not have any single absence from the U.S. of more than one year. Absences of more than six months but less than one year are considered to disrupt the applicant's continuity of residence unless the applicant can establish that he or she did not abandon his or her residence during such period.

Good Moral Character:

  • An applicant for citizenship must be a person of "good moral character" during the required permanent residency period. Persons who have been convicted of aggravated felonies (committed on or after November 29, 1990), or who have ever been convicted of murder, are permanently barred from applying for citizenship on this basis. Any applicant with a criminal record should consult an immigration attorney prior to applying for citizenship, because many crimes that make a permanent resident ineligible for citizenship also make him or her deportable as well. However, not all crimes result in a permanent bar to citizenship, and not all crimes will prevent a finding of "good moral character."

Knowledge of English Language, U.S. History and Government:

  • At the time of the naturalization interview a test is given to determine the applicant's basic knowledge of English, U.S. History, and Government.

Loyalty to the United States:

  • Once an applicant is approved for naturalization, he or she must take the oath of allegiance in a ceremony actually conferring citizenship.


  • Persons who are over a certain age and have been present in the U.S. for very long periods of time, and persons who demonstrate that they have a physical or mental impairment which affects their ability to learn English may be exempt from these requirements.

Some of the greatest benefits of becoming a U.S. Citizen include the right to vote, freedom of traveling throughout the world on a U.S. passport, and of course immigration benefits. Unlike permanent residents, U.S. citizens are permitted to petition for their parents, siblings, or for their married children.

Contact Grzeca Law Group's Naturalization Lawyers to learn more about the benefits of becoming a citizen, and begin the naturalization process.

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