Law Offices of Steven A. Culbreath, P.A. -- Immigration Lawyer, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA

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U.S. Citiz. / Naturalization

What is “Naturalization”?  It is the legal process of obtaining U.S. Citizenship by means other than birth, by filing an application as an adult on your own behalf.

Generally speaking, those who are not born in the United States, or those who have no other legitimate claim to U.S. citizenship, may apply to become U.S. Citizens by a process called “Naturalization”, after having been a lawful permanent resident (“Green Card holder”) in the United States, and meet a series of other qualifications.

We have set up a separate website, dedicated solely to the acquisition of U.S. Citizenship. Please visit our site at:

“Why should I become a U.S. Citizen?”

Obtaining U.S. citizenship brings with it certain rights and responsibilities, which a lawful permanent resident or even a U.S. visa-holder may not have.

Rights of a U.S. Citizen:

  • The right to vote.  Only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in official governmental elections.

  • Sponsorship of foreign-born family members for immigration benefits.

  • Obtaining U.S. citizenship for one’s own child(ren), even if born abroad.

  • Obtaining and traveling with a U.S. passport.

  • Eligibility for certain federal jobs, or jobs involving national security.

  • Holding public office, as an elected official.

The basic requirements of the “naturalization” process, and the obligations of citizenship itself, demand greater incorporation into U.S. society. Immigrants age 18 and older are currently eligible for naturalization only if they have met the following requirements:

  • Been Lawful Permanent Residents for at least five years (three years for the spouses of U.S. citizens), during which time they have not departed the country for periods of six months or more.

  • Are of “good moral character” (that is, have not been arrested for or convicted of any serious crimes).

  • Demonstrated knowledge of English and U.S. civics.

  • Sworn allegiance to the U.S. Constitution by taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Naturalization opens up new avenues of integration into U.S. society.

U.S. citizenship affords rights which facilitate greater political and economic incorporation:

  • The right to vote in federal and state elections.

  • The right to run for political office (except the office of President or Vice President)

  • The right to hold public-sector jobs and jobs that require security clearances.

  • Protection from deportation.

  • The right to travel with a U.S. passport.


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