I have been out of the country for a year, as a green card holder can I apply for citizenship?

  • The problem is, if you stay outside of the United States for more than one year, immigration is going to look at that.
  • The statutes state that you’ve broken your continuous residence in the United States. You’re not going to be eligible for citizenship right away. You will have to stay in the United States to reconcile the loss of physical presence.
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Can I travel when my naturalization application is pending?

  • Yes, but be very careful that you don’t stay out of the United States for more than six months
  • If you have an issue with physical presence where you have to have at least half your time in the United States make sure that you don’t stay out of the United States where it affects that physical presence.
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Which family members can I sponsor after becoming US citizen?

  • As a US citizen, you can file for your spouse, your children, your parents, a fiancé and siblings.
  • As a legal permanent resident, you can also file for your spouse and children; however they go on a waiting list because it’s not immediate relative.
  • As a legal permanent resident, you cannot file for your parent or your sibling, nor can you file for a fiancé.
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Is it possible to have dual citizenship?

  • The United States does not like someone having dual citizenship.
  • The individual can have dual citizenship, for example, myself. I was born in the United States, I am a citizen of the United States. By my birth, because my father was not a citizen of the United States when I was born, I am automatically a citizen of Italy. In those type of instances, we can have dual citizenship.
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What are the requirements to file for citizenship and when can I apply for citizenship?

  • Legal, permanent residents are eligible to apply for citizenship in two different ways. One way is if you obtained your permanent resident status through a spouse, and you continue to live with them. You can apply for citizenship within three years of obtaining your permanent resident status. Other individuals who obtained their permanent residency status through other means can apply for citizenship after five years.
  • If you are eligible, you need to show that you’ve had permanent resident status for at least three to five years. You must have been in the United States for at least half that time, 18 months to 30 months. You cannot have broken continuous residence.  In other words, you cannot have stayed outside of the United States for more than one year, and you cannot have been convicted of certain crimes.
  • You also have to have positive, good moral character for the five years immediately preceding the application. Obviously, certain criminal convictions will bar you from filing for citizenship, or you will have to wait those five years. If you do have some immigration violations that may cause you not to be eligible.
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