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Citizenship

Naturalization is the way that a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. Are you thinking about applying for naturalization? Depending on your situation, different requirements may apply to you.

Learn about the general 10 steps to naturalization.
  • Eligibility Requirements

    The first question you must ask yourself is am I eligible to apply or how can I become eligible?
     
      1. Be at least 18 years old.
      2. Satisfy one of two requirements (A or B):
     
      A. Have lived as a legal permanent resident in the United States for 5 years AND:
      1. You must not have left the United States for any period longer than 6 months.
              Example: Hector has lived in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident for 7 years, but 3 years ago he took a business trip to Buenos Aires for 8 months.
              Result: The 5-year period started all over again the day he returned and he must wait 2 more years to apply.
      2. You must have been physically present in the United States for a total of at least 30 months.
              Example: Maria has been a Legal Permanent Resident for 6 years, but each year she has taken two 4-month trips out of the country.
              Result: She has been physically present in the United States for just 4 months a year, or 24 months total. She must remain here for another 6 months to apply.

       B. Have lived as a legal permanent resident in the United States for 3 years AND:

    1. Your spouse must have been a citizen for the 3 years.
    2. You must have lived with your spouse for the last 3 years.
    3. You must have not left the United States for any period longer than 6 months.
    4. You must have been physically present here for a total of 18 months.

    3. Be a person of good moral character.
    How does the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine good moral character? It looks principally at criminal records and honesty in the application process. Certain crimes or offenses can lead to denial of your application.
                  Examples:
      1. Driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs (DUI or DWI)
      2. Domestic violence
      3. Involvement with prostitution
      4. Lying to gain immigration or prevent deportation or removal
      5. Failing to pay court-ordered child support
      6. Failing to complete any probation, parole or sentence before applying for naturalization
    If you have been arrested or convicted of any crime, you must report it on your application - even if it has been removed from your record or if it occurred before your 18th birthday. You must also send certified copies of the arrest report, court disposition, sentencing and any other relevant documents. If you are not truthful on your application or during your interview, USCIS may deny your application. These offenses will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a citizen, but they may require you to hire a lawyer.
    4. Demonstrate knowledge of history and government of the United States and be able to read, write and understand English.
    English: There are 3 important exemptions for English testing based on age and time as a legal permanent resident:
    1. You are at least 50 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years.
    2. You are at least 55 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 15 years.
    3. You are at least 65 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years.
    5. You must correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions on the civics test in order to pass. You will be required to study from a list of 100 possible questions. However, if you are at least 65 and have been a legal permanent resident for at least 20 years, you can study from a designated list of just 20 questions. If you have certain medical conditions, you may not have to take either exam. A currently licensed medical professional must complete Form N-648 (Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions) if you believe you have a medical condition that warrants an exemption.
    1. Take the civic practice test.
  • Benefits of Citizenship

    With the benefits of citizenship, you can:

    • You can vote
    • Apply for a U.S. passport
    • Bring family to the U.S.
    • Not be deported
      • Apply for citizenship for your children
    • Apply for scholarships and grants
    • Run for public office
    • Travel unlimited
    • Apply for government benefits
    • Apply for federal and state jobs
  • Apply to become a U.S. Citizen

    In partnership with Florida Immigrant Coalition, Citizenshipworks is a free online service that help you apply for citizenship, step-by-step. We guide you from start to finish. And we tell you if need help from an expert.

    1. See if you Qualify
    2. Fill out application N-400
    3. Send your completedapplication
    4. Get ready for your interview
    5. Go to your interview
    6. Your citizenship ceremony

    Start you application today!
  • Citizenship Corner in Your Local Library

    A typical Citizenship Corner includes citizenship test preparation materials along with information about the naturalization process. They may also include information on community resources, English teaching materials, and other relevant books and videos from the Library's collection.

    Citizenship Corners:

  • Citizenship Resources

  • Free Citizenship Events

    The Miami-Dade Public Libraries host a series of weekly citizenship classes.

    The Florida Immigration Coalition also provides citizenship classes. For times and locations call 305-571-7254. Registration may be required.

    Sessions will be conducted by professional staff and volunteers of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. There will be assistance in both English and Creole. 

    In order to work successfully with staff and volunteers in completing your N-400 citizenship application, you must bring the following documents:

    • Permanent resident card (green card)
    • Social security card
    • All your passports
    • Dates you have been outside the United States since becoming a permanent resident and the countries you traveled to during these trips
    • List of home addresses for the past 5 years
    • List of employer names and addresses for the past 5 years
    • If married to a U.S. citizen or resident: bring spouse green card / U.S. passport, marriage certificate, divorce decrees
    • For your children: bring green card(s), complete name(s), date(s) of birth, social security numbers

    In addition to the complete form N-400, you will need to bring the required supporting documents. A background check will be conducted, and you will have to pass both a Civics and English exams.

    You may qualify for a fee waiver for the $725 application if you receive public benefits like Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP); or your household income is below 150% below the poverty line. You will be required to bring your most recent tax return and 2 months of pay stubs.

    For more information, call 311 or 305-468-5900.

Office of New Americans

The Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County (ONA) promotes naturalization campaigns and citizenship events. ONA seeks financial and in-kind resources, as well as pro-bono services from the community to implement free or low-cost citizenship Informational Sessions and Workshops while providing enhanced economic and educational opportunities among legal permanent residents in Miami-Dade.