Becoming a U.S. citizen through Naturalization is normally a straightforward process, unless you have a criminal record, or you have not been physically present or resident in the U.S. Some crimes, such as aggravated felonies, can make you permanently ineligible for citizenship, while a record of old convictions with a recent clean record may not be an issue. Generally, if a crime does not permanently disqualify you and it is more than five years old and you have not had any criminal issues since then, you should be able to Naturalize.

In the context of Naturalization, physical presence and residence are often confused, but they are different requirements. Physical presence is as it sounds, it is how much time have you been in the U.S. There are some exceptions for sickness or studying abroad. Some LPR spouses of U.S. citizens who regularly reside abroad, may not have to satisfy the physical presence requirement. Residence, on the other hand, is more about your ties to the U.S. Some of the key considerations are whether you have access to a home in the U.S., whether you are employed in the U.S., if you have financial ties to the U.S, etc.

Claims to U.S. Citizenship

If your parent (or sometimes a grandparent) is or was a U.S. citizen, you may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. Depending on when you were born, there may be a requisite amount of time that you parent must have been physically present in the U.S. You may also have a claim to U.S. citizenship if your parent naturalized when you were under the age of 18 and have been admitted as a Lawful Permanent Residence at some time.