After getting married to a U.S. citizen, the marrying spouse does not automatically become a U.S. citizen too. However, there are several ways that a spouse can begin the path to U.S. citizenship.
The most crucial factor for an immigrant is to make sure they legally entered the U.S. This will make the process much smoother for both parties.
After getting married, an immigrant can then apply for a Green Card. During this process, it’s important to show that the marriage is not just on paper — that both parties have taken steps to build a life together. That could include doing the following:
- Buying a big item together (a house, a car, etc…);
- Getting a bank account together; and,
- Listing each other as beneficiaries.
After getting married, an immigrant must meet specific criteria when applying for a Green Card including:
- They are at least 18 years old;
- Have been living in the U.S. for at least three years and of those three years, have physically been in the U.S. for at least 18 months;
- Living with their spouse for three years;
- Living in the state where they are filing their paperwork for at least three months;
- Have basic understanding and communication of the English language; and,
- Have demonstrated good moral character for at least three years before filing for a Green Card.
Once a Green Card is issued, the next step would be to file for naturalization. This is when citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident. The resident would need to fill out Form N-400. Those who complete this form can fill it out online or mail it in. However, it’s important to note that there is a filing fee of $640 to complete this process. See tips to complete this form from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website here. Processing of this form usually takes eight to twelve months.
Don’t feel like you need to complete these legal forms alone. At Murray Osorio PLLC we’ve helped thousands with their immigration paperwork to make sure it’s done correctly the first time and avoid any extra delays. Schedule a consultation so we can help you with your citizenship matters.