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Who can apply for USA Citizenship?

Region: Ontario Answer # 1065

To be eligible for USA citizenship, and individual must first be a US permanent resident. When an eligible individual can apply, depends on the circumstances in which the individual received their USA permanent residence status.

USA permanent residents are eligible to apply for citizenship:

  • after being a permanent resident for a specified duration,
  • being physically present in the US continuously for a specified time period, and
  • are residents of their state.

For persons who became permanent residents through marriage, most are eligible to for citizenship after three years of being a permanent resident. USCIS allows applicants to file two years and nine months after becoming a permanent resident.

Persons who became permanent residents through employment can apply for citizenship after five years, filing their application as early as four years and nine months after the date they became a permanent resident.


In many instances, dependent minors under the age of 16 can bypass filing for citizenship and can instead apply for a certificate of citizenship based on a parent becoming a citizen first. Minors may already be US citizens, even if born outside the US, depending on the citizenship status of their biological or adoptive parents. Members of the US military and their family also have special rules for becoming citizens.

Note that there are restrictions based on time spent outside the US and criminal issues.

A criminal record will prevent you from entering the USA or obtaining your USA immigration status. To erase your Canadian criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.


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