Naturalization and Citizenship

US Citizenship is either acquired at birth, derived through citizenship of parents, or through naturalization.


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 under immigration laws. The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

  • A period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States—5 years as a lawful permanent resident and 30 months of physical presence in the U.S., or 3 years as lawful permanent resident if married to and living with U.S. citizen spouse;
  • Residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
  • An ability to read, write, and speak English;
  • Knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • Good moral character;
  • Attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
  • Favorable disposition toward the United States.

Note: Recent changes in immigration law and USCIS procedures now make it easier for U.S. military personnel to naturalize.

All naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment, and favorable disposition. The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens.

Citizenship of Children

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship at birth to almost all individuals born in the United States or in U.S. jurisdictions, according to the principle of jus soli. Certain individuals born in the United States, such as children of foreign heads of state or children of foreign diplomats, do not obtain U.S. citizenship under jus soli.

Certain individuals born outside of the United States are born citizens because of their parents’ citizenship, according to the principle of jus sanguinis (which holds that the country of citizenship of a child is the same as that of his / her parents).

Parents’ citizenship, residence, and conditions of the child’s birth must be carefully assessed to determine if U.S. citizenship is acquired at birth.



Law Offices of Farnoush Farzad
  P 213 382-1010
F 213 382-1710