By Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Chair
With the 2020 presidential election just a few weeks away, there has never been a more important time to vote. And voting brings me to my topic for today, I am going to discuss the requirements an immigrant must go through in order to become a Naturalized citizen so that they too many one day participate in our American electoral process.
- Be a Lawful Permanent Resident: So in order for someone who was not born in the US, but who immigrated here, to become a naturalized US citizen who can one day vote, they must first have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years.
- 18 years old: You must also be at least 18 years old at the time of applying for naturalization.
- You must demonstrate continuous residence in the US for at least five years before the date you file the Form N-400.
- Absences of 6 months or move may disrupt the continuous residence period unless you can prove otherwise, and absences in excess of one year or more are likely to disrupt this requirement
- There is a formula that requires you show at least 30 months total out of the past 5 years that you have resided in the US
- You must demonstrate that you have lived in the State or District you are applying for citizenship in for at least 3 months prior to applying.
- So if you just moved to Arizona from California, you will want to show a lease or utility bill dating back 3 months if you plan to apply in Arizona.
- You must be a person of good moral character.
- Typically immigration will look at the five year period prior to your application for any crimes committed, including traffic citations. But they are allowed to look back even further, so make sure your record is clean, fines are paid off, probation is finished, etc if you have had any run ins with law enforcement or better yet consult with an attorney on this point prior to filing.
- You have to be able to read, write, and speak basic English
- Though there is an exception which allows someone to bypass this requirement and take the Civics test in their native language depending on how long someone has had their green card and how old they are at the time they apply.
- You have to demonstrate a basic understanding of US history and government, in the form of a civics test administered the day of the hearing.
- Finally, you have to take an oath of allegiance to the United States, so if you are a prince or a noble in a far away land trying to hang on to your inherited castle, this might be a problem.
So, these are the requirements to become a naturalized US Citizen, and then and only then, can someone who is a not a natural born US citizen VOTE in a local or national election. Which we hope you all are planning on doing this November and in future elections. Please remember this is not legal advice and to consult with an attorney prior to filing your application, and thanks for stopping by.