Married a US Citizen
In the US there are a few different ways a person can become a permanent resident or citizen. Those who have married a person who is a US citizen have the option of becoming permanent residents and, potentially, US citizens. This article will provide a brief overview of the Green Card and naturalization process.
Getting a Green Card
Even though the non-citizen spouse has married a US citizen, they cannot immediately apply for US citizenship. First, the person must hold a Green Card and live in the US as a married individual. Applying for a Green Card will be a smooth process since the spouse is considered an immediate relative.
If the spouse is already living in the US according to a valid visa, they can submit an adjustment of status application as well as Form I-130 that the citizen spouse must submit. The form will require proof of the marriage’s legality as well as evidence that shows the marriage has not been carried out fraudulently (i.e. get married a US citizen just to get residency).
Applying for Citizenship
Once eligible, the spouse of the US citizen can apply for naturalization specifically through a route meant for spouses. There are several eligibility criteria that must be filled, but the most important include having a Green Card for at least three years, having been Married a US Citizen the entire time, living in the US continuously during the application process until citizenship is granted, and having an appropriate command of English and US civics.
To initiate the naturalization process, Form N-400 must be filed. The spouse will have to also attend an interview, which is when the spouse’s English and knowledge of civics will be tested.