January 14, 2008: Is Citizenship Test Required For This Naturalized Applicant?

Is Citizenship Test Required For This Naturalized Applicant?

My parents and I came to the United States when I was 5 years old. I have grown up in the United States. I went to school and graduated from college in the United States. We have been permanent residents for more than seven years. Do I have to the take the citizenship test? I know my parents have to take it.
— Noel

Depending on a person’s age when either one of their parents is sworn in as naturalized United States citizen, they may not have to apply on their own for citizenship because they may automatically derive citizenship through their naturalized parent. If a person is under the age of 18 when their parent is sworn in as a United State citizen, then they automatically derive United States citizenship through that parent. The person may obtain proof of their citizenship by applying for a United States passport. However, it appears that you are over 18 years of age. You will therefore have to apply on your own for United States citizenship and independently meet all of the citizenship requirements.

To be eligible, you must be able to prove that you have been a permanent resident for at least five years, that you have not traveled in a single trip outside of the United States for a period of more than six months, that you have resided in the United States for at least 30 months out of the previous 60 months prior to filing, that you are a person of good moral character, and pass both an English and Government/History test, among other requirements.

If you have any arrests, even if the charges were dropped, you may not be able to meet the good moral character required for citizenship. Generally, all applicants must prove they have been a person of good moral character for the five year period immediately preceding the filing of the Application. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may (and usually does) take into consideration your entire criminal history (not just the last five years) when determining whether you are a person of good moral character.

If you are a male, you will need to meet the Selective Service requirements.

As of July 30, 2007, the total filing fee for an Application for Naturalization and the required Biometrics (fingerprinting) is $675.00.

If you have any specific questions about your eligibility for citizenship, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate the facts of your case.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys