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Turn To A Trusted Attorney For Guidance With Your Application For Citizenship

Last updated on May 16, 2024

Becoming a United States citizen is referred to as “naturalization,” and the application an individual must file to become a United States citizen is called a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

In certain circumstances, foreign nationals may automatically become U.S. citizens without needing to seek naturalization. They may not be aware that they have already been granted citizenship. In these unique circumstances, an individual must file a Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

Once an individual becomes or is recognized as a United States citizen, they are protected from deportation and gain access to all the benefits and rights of a natural-born American.

At Marigold Law Center, our experienced citizenship lawyers can guide you through every step of the immigration process. With offices in Hyattsville, Maryland, and Los Angeles, California, we offer nationwide guidance for complex immigration issues.


Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who seek the privileges and responsibilities afforded to United States citizens must apply for naturalization.

It has never been a requirement for LPRs in the United States to apply for naturalization. That said, LPRs can become naturalized so long as they meet the following criteria:

  1. Are at least 18 years old when filing the N-400
  2. Have been an LPR for a minimum of five years
  3. Have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the five years preceding the date the applicant files the application
  4. Have been continuously living in the United States for the last five years
  5. Can read, write and speak the English language
  6. Have a basic understanding of the history and government of the United States
  7. Have a good moral character

The foregoing withstanding, it is possible for a person married to a United States citizen to apply for naturalization after only being an LPR for three years if the following (and additional) requirements are fulfilled at the time of filing:

  1. Must be an LPR for a minimum of three years
  2. The applicant and the United States citizen spouse have been married and living in a “marital union” for a minimum of three years
  3. The applicant has continuously resided in the United States for the last three years
  4. Before the filing date of the application, the applicant must be physically in the United States for at least half of the three-year requirement mentioned above

Automatic Acquisition Of United States Citizenship

Foreign nationals can automatically become United States citizens in some situations. These individuals may not even be aware that they have been granted citizenship. If this happens, these individuals are encouraged to seek proof of their citizenship by filing a Form N-600.

Children born outside the United States can receive automatic citizenship under the following conditions:

  1. At least one parent must be a United States citizen. Citizenship can result from birth or through naturalization.
  2. The child must be younger than 18 years old.
  3. The child must have a green card.
  4. The parent who is a United States citizen must have physical and legal custody.
  5. The child must live in the United States.

Adopted children who meet the above conditions can also get automatic citizenship, provided they have undergone the formal adoption process.

Schedule A Free Consultation To Discuss Your Circumstances

Applying for citizenship by correctly filing either an N-400 or an N-600 is a complicated process requiring a skilled and experienced immigration attorney. If you believe you may qualify, call Marigold Law Center toll-free at 323-714-0195 or email us for a free consultation. With offices in Hyattsville, Maryland, and Los Angeles, California, we serve people nationwide.