The Most Common Obstacles to Attaining US Citizenship

By | February 3, 2012

Attaining U.S. citizenship isn’t as easy as it once was. In the golden age of immigration, becoming a United States citizen was often as simple as submitting to a physical examination and signing a form. Those simple days are well behind us, however, and we’re left with what is perhaps a more difficult journey to legal citizenship in the United States than ever before.

But don’t give in to despair before you figure out how to navigate this legal road to citizenship. As you’ll find out, there are indeed common obstacles to attaining it, but obstacles are just that – obstacles. They’re made to be overcome. If you want to immigrate to the United States and want to do it the right way, you’re going to have to knock those obstacles out of your way. Here are the ones you need to watch out for.


Perhaps the most obvious obstacle is time.  It’s important to know that even if you do everything correctly, submit all the right forms, and comply with all the U.S. immigration requirements, you’re still going to have to spend a significant amount of time living in the United States without actually being a citizen here. The patience it takes to become a U.S. citizen is considerable, and this is not uncommon in the world today. But it’s important that you recognize time is simply another obstacle that can be overcome if you have the patience to live and work here for a considerable time.

Typically, you’ll have to wait five years in the United States in order to attain your U.S. citizenship – and that’s if you’re doing everything right. But look at it this way: the time will pass anyway. You might as well spend it constructively.

Spousal Issues

If you’re marrying a U.S. citizen, you might think that your path to citizenship is guaranteed. And it can be easier – you may just have to spend three years in the U.S. before you’re granted full citizenship. But you’ll also have to verify that you’re not getting married for the citizenship itself, which can definitely feel like a major obstacle. It may even feel like an invasion of privacy. Just know in advance that this is one of the issues you will have to deal with if you are going to become a United States citizen through marriage.


Having minor children can also represent a potential obstacle for citizenship, and it’s not hard to see why their presence can often complicate the entire process. There are potential benefits to having children in these cases, however, as you’ll be able to demonstrate good character if you have supported and taken care of children in the past.

Overcoming these obstacles won’t be easy – attaining citizenship is clearly not as simple as it once was. But if you are diligent about your desire to become a United States citizen and are eager to make it happen for yourself, there’s a good chance none of these obstacles will truly stand in your way.

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