In order to qualify for . citizenship through naturalization, an individual must have had LPR status (a green card) for at least five years (or three years if he or she obtained the green card through a .-citizen spouse or through the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA). There are other exceptions including, but not limited to, members of the . military who serve in a time of war or declared hostilities. Applicants for . citizenship must be at least 18-years-old, demonstrate continuous residency, demonstrate “good moral character,” pass English and . history and civics exams (with certain exceptions), and pay an application fee, among other requirements.
Immigration Law, specifically the enforcement of this law, changed dramatically after the attacks of September 11th and the subsequent passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security. Where this responsibility had previously been that of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) within the Department of Justice, it is now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who is charged with enforcing this law. Particular divisions of the Department of Homeland Security are responsible for administrative and enforcement functions for immigration.