Orlando Citizenship Attorney

Dedicated and Comprehensive Legal Guidance in Tampa

Becoming a United States citizen is the ultimate goal of many immigrants. To begin the naturalization process, an immigrant must first obtain a green card and become a lawful permanent resident.

The process and requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen can be confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming. Our Orlando citizenship lawyer at DLA Immigration Services knows what it is like to come here from somewhere else and can provide compassionate guidance every step of the way. We have over 25 years of legal experience and strive to provide honest and diligent advocacy to each of our clients. Our firm’s team understands every component of naturalization and can leverage our knowledge and resources to benefit your case.


Explore your naturalization options today by calling (407) 537-6565 or contacting us online. We offer free initial consultations.


Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization

Only U.S. lawful permanent residents can qualify for naturalization. This means you must obtain a green card before you can become a citizen. Many immigrants procure green cards through family petitions or sponsorship from a U.S. employer. If you do not yet have a green card, we can help you explore your options for obtaining one.

Once you have your green card, you cannot immediately apply for U.S. citizenship. All lawful permanent residents must undergo a mandatory waiting period before beginning the naturalization process. The length of this waiting period will generally depend on how you became a lawful permanent resident.

If you become a lawful permanent resident by marrying a U.S. citizen, you must wait at least 3 years from the date of obtaining your green card before you can initiate naturalization. Asylees who procured their green card 1 year after receiving their asylum status must only wait an additional 4 years before naturalizing. If you become a lawful permanent resident through practically any other means, including through employment, you must wait at least 5 years. Several miscellaneous exceptions exist for members of the U.S. military and their spouses.

Lawful permanent residents cannot simply “run the clock” and wait for their mandatory waiting period to be over. They must also meet several other requirements for continuous and physical presence.

Continuous presence involves maintaining your primary residence in the country and can be disrupted if you spend too much time abroad at any one time. Physical presence refers to the number of days you spend inside the borders of the United States.

To qualify for naturalization, lawful permanent residents must maintain continuous presence for the entire length of their waiting period. Individuals married to a U.S. citizen will thus need to have continuous presence for 3 years, while most other lawful permanent residents will need to maintain continuous presence for 5 years. Spending more than 6 months outside the country in any single instance can disrupt your continuous presence and jeopardize your ability to naturalize. 

Lawful permanent residents must maintain physical presence for at least half of their mandatory waiting period. Individuals married to U.S. citizens must be physically present in the country for at least 1.5 years, while most others will need to be physically located in the country for at least 2.5 years. Physical presence can become an issue if you take too many trips abroad, even if each individual trip is relatively brief.

In addition to meeting continuous and physical presence requirements, prospective citizens must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must demonstrate “good moral character.”
  • You must be willing to defend the U.S. Constitution.
  • You must be willing to serve in the U.S. military and/or perform civilian service if called upon.
  • You must have been a resident of your current state (from where you plan to formally apply for naturalization) for at least 3 months.
  • You must pass the naturalization exam.
  • If you are male and between the ages of 18 and 25, you must register with the Selective Service System.

If you are ready to naturalize, our Orlando citizenship attorney can review your specific circumstances and ensure you meet all eligibility requirements. We can ensure you meet all continuous and presence requirements and help you avoid common mistakes and omissions when submitting your application.

why choose us?

Honesty. Commitment. Dilligence.
  1. 1
    Experienced
    We have over 25 years of experience fighting for cases just like yours.
  2. 2
    Empathetic
    Attorney Lugo-Auffant is very familiar with the immigrant experience and understands the challenges of coming to a new country.
  3. 3
    Attentive
    We prioritize our client's unique needs and Attorney Lugo-Auffant has a hand in every single case we handle.
WE'RE HERE TO HELP Don't Navigate the Complicated Landscape of Immigration Law Alone - Call Us Today!

DLA Immigration Services Offers Free Initial Consultations

The Citizenship Application Process, Interview, and Exam

Once you meet all eligibility requirements, you can submit your formal application materials in the 90-day window before you complete your mandatory waiting period. You will then need to wait for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process your application. Wait times can vary, but you should expect to wait at least 1 year – and possibly more – before hearing about the next steps. 

In the interim, USCIS should schedule a biometrics appointment that will collect your fingerprints. USCIS will use this information to conduct a background check to ensure you meet all citizenship requirements.

Once USCIS has reviewed your application, they will schedule an in-person interview and citizenship exam at a local field office. The interview will focus on confirming information provided with your application, while the exam will test your U.S. civics knowledge and English language competency.

The naturalization exam can be understandably stressful and pressure-inducing, but be aware it is not meant to be especially difficult. We can help you prepare for both components of the test.

The civics portion of the exam evaluates your knowledge of U.S. history and the basic functions of the U.S. government. Again, the questions you will encounter are not designed to be challenging. You will be presented with 10 questions out of a possible 100, and you must answer 6 correctly to pass. You can study all 100 potential questions in advance, as they are published by USCIS online. 

The English language component of the exam assesses your speaking, writing, and reading abilities. The interview itself will be conducted in English, and you will pass the speaking element if you are able to understand and answer the USCIS officer’s questions. The writing portion involves the USCIS officer speaking 3 short English aloud. You must write at least 1 one of these spoken sentences in English to pass. The reading component is similar and involves the USCIS officer showing you 3 sentences written in English. You must speak at least one of these sentences aloud to pass.

Do not panic if you do not pass any portion of the naturalization exam during your interview. You will get a second chance to retake any section you did not pass at a later date that will be scheduled by USCIS. 

If you successfully complete the exam and the USCIS officer is satisfied with your interview, they will formally approve your application. You are not quite a citizen yet, as you still need to attend your Oath of Allegiance ceremony. USCIS will send a notice to your residential address with the location, time, and date of your ceremony. After completing your Oath of Allegiance, you will officially become a U.S. citizen.

Benefits of United States Citizenship

Becoming a United States citizen is the ultimate goal of many immigrants. To begin the naturalization process, an immigrant must first obtain a green card and become a lawful permanent resident.

The process and requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen can be confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming. Our Orlando citizenship lawyer at DLA Immigration Services knows what it is like to come here from somewhere else and can provide compassionate guidance every step of the way. We have over 25 years of legal experience and strive to provide honest and diligent advocacy to each of our clients. Our firm’s team understands every component of naturalization and can leverage our knowledge and resources to benefit your case.


Explore your naturalization options today by calling (407) 537-6565 or contacting us online. We offer free initial consultations.


Naturalized citizens can also:

  • Sponsor family members for green cards. Lawful permanent residents can only sponsor spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. They also must do so via the family preference categories, which are less efficient than the immediate relative categories reserved for citizens. Citizens can also sponsor siblings, parents, adult children, and married children.
  • Acquire automatic citizenship for new children. Any child born after a lawful permanent resident becomes naturalized can easily attain citizenship status.
  • Vote. Naturalized citizens have the right to vote in all U.S. federal elections. They can also vote in any of their state or local municipality elections.

No matter your circumstances, our Orlando citizenship lawyer at DLA Immigration Services can provide knowledgeable legal guidance throughout the naturalization process. We understand what is at stake and are committed to providing each case with the personal and dedicated attention it deserves.


If you are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, do not hesitate to call (407) 537-6565 or contact us online to discuss your situation with us. We offer our legal services in English and Spanish.


Contact DLA Immigration

We Look Forward To Hearing From You

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.