Naturalization Based on Marriage to a U.S. Citizen
The spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the U.S. may be eligible for naturalization on the basis of his or her marriage. The spouse must have continuously resided in the U.S. after becoming an LPR for at least three (3) years immediately preceding the date of filing the naturalization application. Importantly, they must have lived in marital union with his or her citizen spouse for at least those three (3) years.
The naturalization requirements a spouse must meet in order to become a U.S. citizen include:
- The applicant must be age 18 or older at the time of filing;
- The applicant must have been an LPR for at least three (3) years;
- The applicant must continue to be the spouse of the U.S. citizen up until the time the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance;
- The applicant must be living in marital union with the U.S. citizen for at least three (3) years preceding the time of filing the naturalization application (the U.S. citizen spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for those three (3) years);
- The applicant must have continuous residence* in the U.S. as an LPR for at least three (3) years immediately preceding the date of filing the application and up to the time of naturalization;
- The applicant must be physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months (548 days) out of the three (3) years immediately preceding the date of filing the application;
- The applicant must be living within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence for at least three (3) months prior to the date of filing;
- The applicant must demonstrate good moral character for three (3) years prior to filing for naturalization, and during the period leading up to the administration of the Oath of Allegiance;
- The applicant must have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law; and
- The applicant must be able to read, write, and speak and understand English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government.
*Continuous residence means that you have maintained residence within the U.S. for the required period of time shown above. Extended absences of six (6) months or more outside of the U.S. may disrupt your continuous residence.
The spouse of a U.S. citizen residing in the United States may also naturalize under the general naturalization provisions for applicants who have been LPRs for at least five (5) years.
If you meet the above requirements, you are eligible to apply for naturalization! Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is an application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Once you have filed the Form N-400, you will need to attend a Biometrics Appointment at your local USCIS field office, where USCIS takes your fingerprints and photograph for background checks. You will then be scheduled for a naturalization interview.
During your naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will ask you questions about your application and background. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you will also take a naturalization test which is made up of two components, an English and civics test.
During the English test, you must demonstrate an understanding of the English language including the ability to read, write, and speak basic English. During the civics test, you will answer important questions about American government and history.
When you have passed all components of the interview, you will be scheduled for a naturalization ceremony where you will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a naturalized U.S. citizen!