Citizenship2018-08-13T14:46:40+00:00

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Citizenship

Individuals born outside the United States may obtain U.S. citizenship if certain conditions are met. The chart below explains the most common paths to U.S. citizenship for individuals who were born outside the United States.

Eligibility

Applicant must have resided in the U.S. at least 5 years after obtaining a green card (3 years if married to a U.S. citizen).

Applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. at least 30 months during the 5 years prior to filing for citizenship. (18 months during the 3 years prior to filing if married to a U.S. citizen).

Applicant must be able to read, write, and speak English in addition to demonstrating an understanding of U.S. civics.

Applicant must be a person of Good Moral Character

Key Takeaways

Absences from the U.S. of between six months to one year may break the continuous residence requirement unless certain exceptions are met.

Absences from the U.S. of one year or more generally break the continuous residence requirement unless prior authorization is obtained.

Applicants who are at least 50 years of age or older and have lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years as green card holders (or 55 years old and 15 years of U.S. residence as green card holders) are exempt from the English language requirement

Eligibility

Children born outside the U.S. may acquire U.S. citizenship if at least one of the child’s parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth. (Acquisition of Citizenship)

Children who are born to at least one naturalized U.S. citizen may derive citizenship from the parent if they are under 18 years old, have lawful permanent residence status, and are living with the parent at the time the parent naturalizes.

Key Takeaways

The laws that govern acquisition of citizenship vary depending on when the child was born.

Similar to acquisition, the laws governing derivation of citizenship are governed based on the time period the child was born.

Eligibility

An individual who has served in the U.S. armed forces must demonstrate:

Honorable service for at least one year during a period of peacetime.

Lawful Permanent Resident status prior to obtaining citizenship.

At least 18 years of age.

Good moral character.

Demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak English in addition to an understanding of U.S. civics.

Key Takeaways

Members of the armed services who serve for at least one year during a period of peacetime may apply for U.S. Citizenship after only one year of obtaining Green Card.

A Green Card is not required if service was during a period of hostility.

The application must be filed while in service or within six months of separation.

There is no specific service requirement time if the service was during a period of hostility.

The USCIS filing fee is waived.

Must swear an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.

VisaZip Explorer

Interested in exploring your potential immigration options? Answer a few questions below to help identify potential immigration solutions that may work for you. Then, schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced immigration attorneys to further discuss your eligibility and immigration options.
I want to work in the U.S.; OR I am a U.S. employer and want to sponsor someone to work in the U.S.
I want to sponsor a family member for a green card or permanent residence in the U.S.
I am a green card holder with an immigration issue
I am a non-U.S. citizen and want to be admitted to the U.S.
Other/don't know
Please select the item below that best describes your situation:
The U.S. company (Sponsor) has a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company outside the U.S
The individual being sponsored will work in a position that requires a Bachelor’s degree or higher
The individual being sponsored is a citizen of Canada or Mexico and will work in a professional occupation in the U.S
The individual being sponsored is considered to have extraordinary ability in the field of arts, athletics, business, education or sciences
The individual being sponsored has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry
The individual being sponsored will accompany an artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance
The individual being sponsored is a performer, athlete, or member of an internationally recognized performance group that is coming to perform at an event in the U.S
The individual being sponsored is an outstanding professor or researcher
The individual being sponsored will be an intern or cultural exchange worker
Other
The individual being sponsored has been employed at one of these affiliated organizations for at least 1 year in the last 3 years
Yes
No
Please select the item that best describes the employee being sponsored
The employee has been an executive or manager for at least 1 year
The employee possesses special knowledge of the organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests; or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures
You may be eligible for an L-1 visa or EB-1 Green Card

L-1A visas apply to employees coming to the U.S. as executives and managers. A holder of an L-1 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on L-2 dependent visas. Spouses are eligible to obtain unrestricted work authorization in the U.S.

Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for an L-1 visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

Employees who have held executive or managerial roles abroad and are coming to the U.S. to serve in an executive or managerial role may also be eligible for an EB-1 (first preference) green card.

Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation to find out which immigration options are available and right for your situation.

You may be eligible for an L-1 visa

L-1B visas apply to employees coming to the U.S. with specialized knowledge of a company’s systems, products, or processes. A holder of an L-1 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on L-2 dependent visas. Spouses are eligible to obtain unrestricted work authorization in the U.S.

Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for an L-1 visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation to find out which immigration options are available for your situation.
Does the individual being sponsored hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field related to the offered position; or do they have at least 12 years of work experience in the same/similar field as the intended job?
Yes
No
What is the country of citizenship of the individual being sponsored?
Australia
Chile or Singapore
Other
This individual may be eligible for an H-1B visa or possibly an E-3 visa

An H-1B is generally issued for up to 3 years and may be extended for a total of 6 years (possibly longer in certain situations).

A holder of an H-1B visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on H-4 visas.

Alternatively, this individual may be eligible for an E-3 visa. An E-3 visa can be extended indefinitely in increments of 2 years at a time.

A holder of an E-3 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S., and spouses are eligible to obtain unrestricted work authorization in the U.S.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which visa is right for you.

This individual may be eligible for an H-1B visa or possibly an H-1B1

An H-1B is generally valid for up to 3 years and may be extended for a total of 6 years (although some exceptions apply). If this is the first time the individual is applying for an H-1B visa, they may be subject to the annual quota of 85,000 visas.

A holder of an H-1B visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on H-4 visas.

Alternatively, this individual may be eligible for an H-1B1 visa. These visas are generally valid for 1 year, and may be extended in increments of 1 year indefinitely.

A holder of an H-1B1 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on H-4 visas.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which visa is right for you.

This individual may be eligible for an H-1B visa

An H-1B is generally valid for up to 3 years and may be extended for a total of 6 years (although some exceptions apply). If this is the first time the individual is applying for an H-1B visa, they may be subject to the annual quota of 85,000 visas.

A holder of an H-1B visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on H-4 visas.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which visa is right for you.

Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation to find out which immigration options are available and right for your situation.
This individual may be eligible for a TN visa and possibly an H-1B visa

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows professionals from Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. to work in an occupation on NAFTA’s TN professionals list. TN status is generally valid for up to 3 years, and may be extended indefinitely in increments of 3 years at a time.

A holder of TN status may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on TD status. The spouse of a TN holder is not eligible to work in the U.S. in TD status.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which visa is right for you.

The individual being sponsored has been recognized for their skills by receiving significant national or international awards or other marks of high distinction
The individual being sponsored has not received a significant national or international award or other marks of high distinction
This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa or EB-1 green card

This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa.

This individual may also be eligible for a green card in the EB-1 (first preference) category.

Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa
You may still qualify. A more detailed evaluation needs to be done to determine eligibility for this visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation to find out which immigration options are available and right for your situation.
This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa
This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa. Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for an O-1 visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.
This individual may be eligible for an O-2 visa
Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for an O-2 visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.
The individual being sponsored is an internationally recognized athlete or member of an internationally recognized entertainment group
The individual being sponsored is an individual performer or part of a group coming to the U.S. to perform under a reciprocal exchange program
The individual being sponsored is an artist or entertainer who would like to enter the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach under a culturally unique program
None of the above situations apply to me.
You may be eligible for a P-1 or O-1 visa

This individual may be eligible for a P visa. P visas allow certain athletes, artists, entertainers and performers to come to the United States to perform at events.

Alternatively, this individual may also be eligible for an O-1 visa. O-1 visas allow individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education or sciences to enter the United States to work or perform at events.

Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for either visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

You may be eligible for a P-1 or O-1 visa

This individual may be eligible for a P visa. P visas allow certain athletes, artists, entertainers and performers to come to the United States to perform at events.

Alternatively, this individual may also be eligible for an O-1 visa. O-1 visas allow individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education or sciences to enter the United States to work or perform at events.

Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for either visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

You may be eligible for a P-1 or O-1 visa

This individual may be eligible for a P visa. P visas allow certain athletes, artists, entertainers and performers to come to the United States to perform at events.

Alternatively, this individual may also be eligible for an O-1 visa. O-1 visas allow individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education or sciences to enter the United States to work or perform at events.

Further consultation is required to determine full eligibility for either visa. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation to find out which immigration options are available and right for your situation.
This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa or EB-1 green card

This individual may be eligible for an O-1 visa to stay temporarily in the U.S., and may have several options for a green card.

If this individual has a U.S. employer to sponsor him/her, this individual may be eligible for a green card in the EB-1 (first preference) category.

This individual may also qualify for a National Interest Waiver with or without a job offer from a U.S. employer. If the field of endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; he or she is well-positioned to advance this endeavor; and it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the standard requirements of a job offer and labor certification.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which immigration option is right for you.

You may be eligible for a J-1 visa

A J-1 visa holder must be sponsored by an exchange program approved by the U.S. Department of State.

A holder of a J-1 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on J-2 Dependent visas

J-1 and J-2 visa holders may be subject to a 2 year home residency requirement if they want to change their status or obtain a green card in the U.S.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which visa is right for you.

Schedule a consultation with VisaZip to help determine what immigration option is right for you.
I am U.S. Citizen
I am a green card holder
I am neither of the above

As a U.S. citizen, you may petition for your spouse, parent, married or un-married children, as well as your siblings to obtain green cards.

Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

As a green card holder, you may petition for your spouse and un-married children to obtain green cards.

Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.

You are ineligible to file a family-based petition for your relatives to obtain green cards for permanent residence in the U.S. Other options may be available. Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.
I want to apply for citizenship
I want to travel outside the U.S. for 6 months or more
I want to remove the conditions on my green card
I need to replace my green card because it has: expired, is expiring, lost, damaged, or my name has changed
Other
You may need to complete an Application to Replace your Permanent Resident Card. Do you have questions or need assistance? Schedule a call with one of our attorneys.
Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to help answer your questions and determine the right next step.
That is great news! We can help. Generally, you must hold your green card for 5 years before you are eligible to apply for citizenship. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply after 3 years of receiving your green card. (Some exceptions apply) Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to determine eligibility and to get started on your citizenship application.
You may need a Re-entry permit
Your permanent residence can be deemed abandoned if you travel outside the country for 6 months or more. In order to help ensure you don’t abandon your residency in the U.S. you may need to apply for a re-entry permit. Schedule a consultation with VisaZip today for guidance on the steps necessary to preserve your residency.
Are you still married to the spouse who petitioned your green card?
Yes
No

You may need to file a joint petition to remove the conditions on your green card 90 days prior to the expiration date of your conditional green card.

Schedule a consultation with a VisaZip attorney to make sure you complete this final step in your green card process correctly.

You may need to file a waiver of the joint petition requirement to remove the conditions on your green card, 90 days prior to the expiration date of your conditional green card. These cases can be very complex. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to make sure you complete this final step in your green card process correctly.
What is the purpose of your stay in the U.S.?
I want to visit the U.S.
I want go to school in the U.S.
I want to start or invest in a business in the U.S.
I want to engage in commercial trade with the U.S.
I want to participate in a cultural exchange program or internship
You may be eligible for a B-1 visa for business visitors or a B-2 visa for tourism
While in the U.S., it is important that you do not violate the terms of your visa. To better understand what you can and cannot do on a B-1/B-2 visa, schedule a consultation with VisaZip today.
You may be eligible for an F-1 student visa or an M-1 vocational visa
You may also be able to work while in school or after your program has concluded. Questions? Contact VisaZip today to schedule a consultation.
You may be eligible for an E-2 or L-1 visa or EB-5 green card

You may be eligible for an E-2 visa. This visa allows citizens of a Treaty country to work temporarily in the U.S. if they invest a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business.

Employees that are essential such as managers or those with special skills holding the same nationality as the investor of a qualifying business may also be eligible for a E-2 visa. The E-2 is generally issued for two years and can be extended indefinitely.

A holder of an E-2 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on E-2 Dependent visas, and spouses are eligible to obtain unrestricted work authorization in the U.S.

If you have a business outside the U.S. and want to expand your business to the U.S., you may be eligible for a New Office L-1 visa.

Alternatively, you may also be eligible for an EB-5 Green Card.

To qualify, you need to invest $1 million (or $500,000 when investing in targeted economic area) and create 10 full-time jobs. You may choose to invest in a project on your own or join a group through a USCIS designated Regional Center.

Contact VisaZip today for a consultation to determine eligibility and to discuss the immigration options that are available to you.

You may be eligible for an E-1 visa
This visa allows citizens of a Treaty country to work temporarily in the U.S. if you engage in substantial international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country, or you are a managerial/essential employee of a qualifying business. The E-1 is generally issued for two years and can be extended indefinitely. A holder of an E-1 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21)to the U.S. on E-1 dependent visas. Spouses of E-1 visa holders may be eligible for unrestricted work authorization. Contact VisaZip today for further information.
You may be eligible for a J-1 visa

A J-1 visa holder must be sponsored by an exchange program approved by the U.S. Department of State.

A holder of a J-1 visa may bring their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to the U.S. on J-2 Dependent visas.

J-1 and J-2 visa holders may be subject to a 2 year home residency requirement if they want to change their status or obtain a green card in the U.S.

Contact VisaZip today to find out more about eligibility and which visa is right for you.

Not sure? Schedule a consultation with VisaZip to help identify what immigration options are right for you.
Not sure where to begin or can't find an option that fits your needs? Don’t worry! Schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys to help identify the best immigration options for you.
Note: the above information is for general information purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be construed as legal advice. Further consultation is required to determine eligibility for the visa listed above.

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