Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (Green Card holder) in the United States for 20 years (commonly referred to as the “50/20” exception).
If you are age 50 or older and have lived in the U.S. as a green card holder (permanent resident) for at least 20 years, you can have the citizenship interview conducted in your native language. This is commonly referred to as the “50/20” waiver.
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides special consideration for applicants who, at the time of filing their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, are aged 65 years old or older, and who have been living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years.
Determine your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen. In general, you may qualify for naturalization if you are at least 18 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen) and meet all other eligibility requirements.
People who immigrate to the United States at age 65 or older may be entitled to Social Security benefits. They must either have 40 U.S. work credits (about 10 years’ worth) or come from a country that has a totalization agreement with the U.S. The U.S. has totalization agreements with more than 25 other nations.
The current naturalization fee for a U.S. citizenship application is $725. That total includes $640 for application processing and $85 for biometrics services, both of which are nonrefundable, regardless of whether the U.S. government approves or rejects an application.
How long does it take to become a U.S. citizen? The national average processing time for naturalization (citizenship) applications is 14.5 months, as of June, 2021. But that’s just the application processing wait time (see “Understanding USCIS Processing Times” below).
You have been convicted of or admitted to a crime involving moral turpitude, such as fraud. You spent 180 days or more in jail or prison for any crime. You committed any crime related to illegal drugs other than a single offense involving 30 grams or less of marijuana.
To claim a waiver to the tests, file Form N-648 along with your completed citizenship form, N-400. You will be eligible only if the medical condition(s) is long-term (lasting 12 months or longer) and the condition affects you so badly that you will not be able to take the English or civics tests.
All green card holders, as long as they meet key conditions, can apply for U.S. citizenship after five years (known as the “five-year rule”) — but those with a U.S. spouse and a green card through marriage can apply after only three years (known as the “three-year rule”).
The English and civics requirements do not apply to naturalization applicants who are unable to comply due to a “medically determinable” physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.
Expedited Naturalization by Marriage
The 4 year 1 day rule mostly works as follows. Once you’ve broken continuous residency, a new period will begin to run on the first day you return to the U.S. Form the day you must stay in the U.S. for a minimum of 4 years and 1 day before you can apply for naturalization again.
Becoming a U.S. citizen shouldn’t be so hard, but it is due to the long processing time, financial and personal costs, and the fact that most immigrants do not have a direct relative that is a citizen of the United States. The requirements of USCIS are also very complex and may not be understandable to outsiders.