What’s the path to citizenship after marrying a U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2022 | Family Immigration

Some people falsely assume that marrying a United States citizen makes it easy for them to become U.S. citizens. While it’s true that marrying a citizen can get you into the U.S. a little easier, you still have to meet the requirements to become a naturalized citizen.

Naturalization provides you with the benefits of citizenship. You’ll get to attend a ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Time requirements

You must be a green card holder living in the U.S. for at least three years before becoming a naturalized citizen. Long periods outside of the U.S. can lead to your green card being classified as abandoned. Even six months outside of this country can be considered a break in this time and cause you to have trouble being granted citizenship. There’s also a three-month requirement for residing in the state or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District overseeing your place of residence.

Good moral character

You must be of good moral character to be granted naturalization. Criminal arrests can cause problems in this area. Some that you might consider minor, such as drunk driving, can create challenges. Violent crimes and having to serve time in prison are almost always prohibitive to being able to become a naturalized citizen. If you have any criminal history, discuss your case with someone who knows immigration laws.

Selective Service

If you’re a male between 18 and 25, you must register with the Selective Service. You can do this online or at a United States Post Office. If you were a green card holder who was required to register but never did and are at least 26 now, you must submit a Selective Service System Request for Status Information Letter to include with your citizenship application.

Two tests

You must pass two tests. One of these is a basic English test. The other is a civics exam that contains 10 questions. You must answer six correctly to pass. These cover history and the government of the country.

Making sure that you have everything in order on your application is crucial. Because of this country’s ever-changing immigration laws and policies, it’s best to work with someone familiar with the most current ones.