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about US Citizenship by Marriage

Everything You Need to Know About US Citizenship by Marriage

The US immigration law provides an intriguing shortcut for permanent residents seeking about US citizenship by marriage. Typically, one must reside in the U.S. for five years before pursuing citizenship. However, if you’re married to a U.S. citizen and living in the country, you might qualify to apply for citizenship after only three years.

Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA §319(a)), a special provision exists for spouses of U.S. citizens aspiring to become citizens. To be eligible, you must have continuously lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for three years before your citizenship application, all while maintaining a marital bond with your U.S. citizen spouse.

Do You Automatically Get US Citizenship by Marrying an American?

Getting married to an American doesn’t automatically grant you citizenship. While marrying a U.S. citizen can offer you certain advantages and speed up your journey to citizenship, it doesn’t exempt you from the necessary legal procedures and prerequisites. The process usually entails obtaining a green card, which provides you with permanent residency, followed by the opportunity to apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen.

If you, as a foreign national, marry a U.S. citizen, you can generally apply for a marriage-based green card, also referred to as an immigrant visa. This allows you to live and work in the United States as a permanent resident. However, even after acquiring a green card through marriage, you must still meet the residency and other qualifications requirements before you can apply for naturalization. 

These criteria often include maintaining continuous residency in the U.S., demonstrating good moral character, passing an English language and civics test, and meeting other specific criteria outlined by U.S. immigration law. While marrying an American citizen provides you with a pathway, it isn’t an automatic or immediate route to citizenship.

5 Requirements about US Citizenship by Marriage

To become a U.S. citizen through marriage, you generally need to fulfill the following five requirements:

Permanent Residency (Green Card)

Before you can get US citizenship by marriage, you must have obtained a green card (permanent residency) based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen. This demonstrates your legal status as a permanent resident of the United States.

Continuous Residence

Apart from having a green card, you must have lived continuously in the United States as a green card holder for at least three years. During this time, you should only have taken trips outside the U.S. for up to six months, as extended absences could disrupt your continuous residence requirement.

Physical Presence

More than being a permanent resident, you must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the three years before your citizenship application. This means you should have spent significant time residing within the country.

Marital Union

Throughout the three years before applying for citizenship, you should have maintained a valid and bona fide marital relationship with your U.S. citizen spouse. This ensures that the marriage is genuine and not solely for immigration purposes.

Good Moral Character

US citizenship applicants must demonstrate good moral character. This involves avoiding any criminal activities, paying taxes, and adhering to U.S. laws. USCIS (United Staes Citizenship and Immigration Services) will assess your behavior and actions during the three-year period and may also consider your overall history.

It’s important to note that these requirements may vary based on individual circumstances and any changes in immigration laws or policies. Before proceeding, it’s advisable to consult the official USCIS guidelines and seek legal advice if needed.

How long after marrying a U.S. citizen can I become a citizen?

The timeline to become eligible for US citizenship by marriage is typically as follows:

Obtain Permanent Residency (Green Card)

The first step is to obtain a green card (permanent residency) through marriage to a U.S. citizen. This process can take several months, and the time can vary based on factors such as USCIS processing times and any potential delays.

Residency Requirement

Generally, you need to be a permanent resident for at least three years before you can apply for US citizenship based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. During this three-year period, you should maintain continuous residence in the United States and meet the physical presence requirement, which means spending a significant amount of time within the country.

Meeting Other Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the residency requirement, you must meet other eligibility criteria to apply for U.S. citizenship. This includes demonstrating good moral character, being proficient in English, and passing a civics test about U.S. history and government.

Applying for Naturalization

Once you meet the residency and eligibility requirements, you can apply for U.S. citizenship by submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, to USCIS.

Naturalization Process

After submitting your application, you may need to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints and other biographical information. You will also be scheduled for an interview where you will be tested on your English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history and government. If your application is approved, you will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a U.S. citizen.

The entire process from marrying a U.S. citizen to becoming a naturalized citizen can take several years, typically ranging from 3 to 5 years or more, depending on various factors. It’s important to note that processing times, requirements, and policies may change, so it’s advisable to consult the official USCIS website or seek legal advice to get the most accurate and up-to-date information based on your individual circumstances.

Final Recap

Embarking on the journey about US citizenship by marriage is a captivating endeavor that intertwines love, commitment, and legal pathways. While the process offers a unique shortcut for permanent residents, it requires careful navigation through specific requirements and timelines. The Immigration and Naturalization Act’s special provision, INA §319(a), paves the way for spouses of US citizens to join the ranks of citizens themselves.

Remember, the path to citizenship is not automatic upon marrying a US citizen; rather, it entails a deliberate and lawful process. Acquiring a green card sets the initial stage, marking your official entry into the realm of permanent residency. From there, a fulfilling voyage through continuous residence, physical presence, marital union, and maintaining good moral character awaits. Each step holds significance, mirroring the commitment you share with your spouse and your new home.

In this quest for citizenship, you’re not alone. The journey might appear intricate, but Citizenship Selfie can serve as your guiding light. Citizenship Selfie will hold your hand through every twist and turn of the naturalization process. From understanding eligibility criteria to mastering the English language and civics test, Citizenship Selfie provides tailored guidance, empowering you to embark on your path with confidence. As you navigate the complexities of US citizenship by marriage, remember that love and dedication fuel not only your relationship but also your journey towards becoming a proud US citizen.

Book a free consultation at www.citizenshipselfie.com today.


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