Any Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) who has maintained permanent resident status for five years, and is physically present in US for at least 30 months of the 5 year period immediately preceding date of filing is eligible to apply for Naturalization. Any LPR who stayed outside US more than 6 months with or without permission from USCIS automatically breaks the continuity of residence for the purpose of naturalization eligibility. If an LPR stayed outside US more than 1 year, and wants to apply for naturalization he/she must reside in US for at least 4 years and 1 day after the last return, before he/she is eligible to apply for naturalization. Under the 1996 laws, if an alien is convicted of aggravated felony, even for probation for 12 months or more is not eligible to apply for naturalization, not only the application will be denied, and the alien may be removed from US.
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:
a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
an ability to read, write and speak English;
a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
good moral character especially during the 5 years prior to the filing of the application;
attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
favorable disposition toward the United States.
All naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment, and favorable disposition until they become citizens. The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens, who can apply after 3 years of gaining permanent residence, and provided living together as spouses.