Guide to Naturalization in the United States


This informative Guide summarizes the requirements and procedures for applying to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for naturalization as a U.S. citizen.

You can download the Guide here:


  1. Good afternoon Mr. Chodorow

    I really hope you read my situation in order to help me know if I can apply for a US citizenship.
    I was granted a green card on March 2014 (6 years ago) but wasn’t able to come to the States right away, instead, what I did was to travel every 4 or 6 months, stayed for a weekend in the US and then go back to my country. I did this until August 2017. The main reason why I couldn’t establish residence in the States right away was because I was taking care of my mom and then I had a high risk pregnancy and my child was born abroad and I could not go on an airplane. I never had any issue when entering through customs and now I’ve been in the US for almost 3 years just leaving the country for 2 weeks vacation on 2019.
    My questions are : Am I eligible to apply for a citizenship now (May 2020)?
    if not, how long do I need to wait?
    Will I be questioned about my absences from the past during my interview?

    I obtained my LPR through marriage with a US citizen.

    1. Marcela,

      The continuous residence requirement is 3 years for an applicant who immediately preceding the date of filing the application has been married to and “living in marital union” with a U.S. citizen (who has been a U.S. citizen for all 3 years). The term “living in marital union” means “actually resid[ing] with” one’s spouse, so it can be lost through informal separation, although not through involuntarily separation. While the couple must be “living in marital union” only up to the date of the filing, termination of the marriage at any time before the applicant takes the oath of allegiance makes the applicant ineligible under section 319(a).

      The statute allows an applicant to file their naturalization application as early as “3 months before the date the applicant” meets the continuous residence requirement, so long as the requirement is met at the time of adjudication. Oddly, USCIS regulations allow filing “90 days” early rather than “3 months early.” Applicants should be sure to comply with the requirement of the regulations.

      Caution: The early filing rule only applies to the continuous residence requirement. Applicants filing on the basis of having been married to and living in marital union with a U.S. citizen spouse for the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the N-400 must still complete those requirements before filing. Specifically, before filing

      • the spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for all 3 years;
      • the couple must have been married for all 3 years; and
      • the couple must have lived in “marital union” for all 3 years.

      1. Thanks a million. You just gave me a clearer idea on What, how and when to do it. Hope to contact you any time soon to apply for my citizenship with your office name.

  2. Gary – How risky is it to apply for naturalization with a break greater than 6 months but less than a year.
    I have a break from Dec 2015-Aug 2016 and even though I am eligible currently, I do fear denial of the N-400 since I did not own a home in the US, my company moved me to India and my payroll change to India and also my family was with me in India. I did have a valid drivers licence, continued paying and filing my US Taxes.
    Would you recommend I apply for naturalization

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