Immigration & Citizenship

Who is a United States citizen?

A person may become a United States (U.S.) citizen by birth or through an administrative process called naturalization.

Who is “born” a United States citizen?

In general, you are a U.S. citizen if you were born in the U.S., if you were born abroad and both your parents were citizens at birth and at least one of your parents has lived in the U.S. at some point, or if you were born abroad with only one parent as a U.S. citizen at your birth and the parent has lived for at least five years in the U.S. for at least five years before your birth.

How do I become a naturalized citizen?

If you are not a U.S. citizen at birth, you can gain citizenship through the naturalization process. Eligibility for naturalization depends on your own personal immigration circumstances. Typically, individuals are permanent residents of the U.S. for a specified period of time (3 or 5 years), then come eligible to apply for naturalization. The naturalization process requires the filing of an N-400 application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The applicant will have to appear for in-person interview and take an English reading and writing exam as well as a U.S. civics and history test. You can find the application at You can also review the civics and history exam questions here:

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that allowed some individuals who entered the U.S. as minors and had either entered or remained in the country without permission, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible to apply for a work permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

How do I request renewal if I was previously granted deferred action under DACA?

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may apply for an extension/renewal with USCIS. It is recommended you hire an attorney to advise you through this process.

What is the current status of DACA?

In 2017 the government announced it was ending the program. As of February 14, 2018, the government is not accepting requests from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under the program. Please note that this program is likely to change in the immediate future, and you should look at USCIS website ( for more updated information.

What is a lawful permanent resident?

A lawful permanent resident, also known as a Green Card holder, has the right to live and work indefinitely in the U.S. Permanent resident cards are issued in 10-year increments. The permanent resident has indefinite right to live and work in the U.S. but must apply to renew their permanent resident cards every 10 years. In the event the permanent resident commits any actions that make them ineligible for continuous permanent residency, they may be removed from the U.S.

Note: there are some permanent resident cards issued in 2 year increments for those EB-5 investors or marriage-based green cards for marriages under 2 years – these conditional permanent residents are required to file to remove conditions on their green cards before being granted a 10 year green card.

What are the duties and obligations of lawful permanent residents?

Lawful permanent residents are required to obey all laws, file income tax returns, and report their income to the IRS. Additionally, permanent residents are expected to support the democratic form of government and to not change the government through illegal means. Male permanent residents, 18 through 25 years of age, are also required to register for the Selective Service.

How does someone become a lawful permanent resident?

Someone may gain lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. by invitation/petition by their U.S. employer, U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member, or humanitarian reasons (such as asylum). More information about each category can be found at

What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens?

U.S. Citizens have the right to live and work in the U.S., vote in federal elections, work for the federal government, run for federal office. U.S. Citizens have the responsibility of being loyal to the U.S., supporting the U.S. Constitution, and serving on a jury when requested.


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