Is a green card holder eligible for citizenship? A permanent residency card is informally called a green card. A person with a green card is eligible to apply for citizenship once he or she meets specific criteria. A naturalized citizen of the United States is afforded some additional rights and benefits that green card holders and others with an immigrant status do not have. A person who successfully goes through the process will become a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Requirements for Citizenship

There is a process established for attaining naturalized citizenship. First, the applicant must meet the specific eligibility requirements before submitting an application. The requirements include:

  • Must be age 18 or older
  • Must be a green card holder for at least 5 years
  • Must reside in your jurisdiction for at least 3 months prior to filing
  • Must have been a continuous resident of the U.S. for the past 5 years
  • Must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the last 5 years
  • Must live in the U.S. continuously after application of naturalization request
  • Must be able to read, speak, and write in English and have a general knowledge of U.S. history
  • Must be a person of good moral character

These requirements can be complex and therefore it is helpful to meet with an experienced Arizona immigration attorney to ensure that you meet all of the criteria before submitting your application.

Application for Naturalization

Once you are certain that you meet all the eligibility requirements for naturalization, you may submit an application. The Application for Naturalization is form N-400. Once the application is approved, you will be provided with an appointment for an interview. You must be prepared before the appointment. You will be required to read, write, and speak a small amount of English to prove your knowledge. In order to be properly prepared, you may want to take a course to learn English as a second language. Additionally, you must answer ten questions about American history.

Seek Help from an Immigration Attorney

The requirements and preparation for naturalization can be complicated, but are quite manageable. An immigration attorney will assist you in reaching your goal to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Your lawyer will answer your questions and help you to understand the criteria, including the confusing physical presence requirements. Also, your lawyer will guide you to resources to get an education in English and history and will assist you in filling out and submitting the form and in preparing for the interview.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Is a Green Card Holder Eligible for Citizenship?, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.