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Naturalization Eligibility for Spouses of U.S. Citizens

As the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the U.S., you may be eligible for naturalization based on your marriage. You must have continuously resided in the United States after becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for at least three years immediately before you file your naturalization application and must have lived in marriage with your citizen spouse for at least those three years.

You must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Must be age 18 or older at the time of filing.
  • Must be an LPR at the time of filing the naturalization application.
  • Must continue to be the spouse of a U.S. citizen up until the time you take the Oath of Allegiance.
  • Must be married and living with the citizen spouse for at least three years preceding the time of filing the naturalization application (and the citizen spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for those three years).
  • Must have continuously resided in the United States as an LPR for at least three years immediately preceding the date of applying for and up to the time of naturalization. This involves maintaining a permanent dwelling place in the United States for the required period. The residence is your actual dwelling place, regardless of your intentions to claim it as your residence.
  • Must have been physically present in the United States for at least 18 months (548 days) out of the three years immediately preceding the date of applying. Physical presence refers to the number of days you must physically be present in the United States during the statutory period up to the date of filing for naturalization.
  • Must have been living within the state or United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) district with jurisdiction over your place of residence for at least three months before the date of filing.
  • Must demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States (civics).
  • Demonstrate good moral character for at least three years before applying until the time of naturalization.
  • Attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.

Filing for Your Naturalization Early

You may file your naturalization application and complete your naturalization interview up to 90 days before the date that you would first meet the required three-year period of continuous residence. But you’re not eligible for naturalization until you have satisfied the required three-year period of residence. All other requirements for naturalization must be met at the time that you file.

USCIS calculates the early filing period by counting back 90 days from the day before you would have first satisfied the continuous residence requirement for naturalization. For example, if the day you would satisfy the three-year continuous residence requirement for the first time is June 10, 2024, USCIS will begin to calculate the 90-day early filing period from June 9, 2024.

As the spouse of a U.S. citizen residing in the United States, you may also naturalize under the general naturalization provisions for applicants who have been LPRs for at least 5 years. Also, if your spouse is a member of the U.S. armed forces, you may be able to do any required naturalization process tasks abroad if necessary, including interviews, filings, oaths, ceremonies, or other proceedings relating to naturalization.

Applying for Naturalization as the Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

To apply for naturalization, you must submit an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) following the form instructions and with the required fee. You should check the appropriate eligibility option on the naturalization application to indicate that you’re applying based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Evidence of Your Spouse’s United States Citizenship

The burden is on you to establish that you’re married and living with a U.S. citizen. Along with your application, you must include evidence to establish the U.S. citizenship of your spouse, which may include:

  • Certificate of birth in the United States
  • Department of State Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Valid and unexpired United States Passport.

If you can’t produce an official civil record, secondary evidence may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, an officer has the right to request an original record if they doubt the authenticity of the record.

How an Experienced Immigration Attorney Can Help

Becoming a U.S. citizen can have a huge effect on your life. The process takes time, and if you handle the whole thing yourself, you risk making missteps that can lead to a denial of your naturalization.

As a spouse of a U.S. citizen, you can get a lot out of hiring an experienced immigration attorney for your naturalization process. Your attorney helps you fully understand the complex immigration laws and policies that are relevant to your case. They can make sure that you meet all your eligibility criteria and that your naturalization application is complete and accurate. Your attorney can also help when unforeseen issues come up, like questions about your application or any additional documentation requests from immigration authorities. This can be helpful if your naturalization case involves any unusual circumstances. Your attorney can help streamline the process by helping prevent any errors or misunderstandings.

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney

Do you have questions about how to become a naturalized citizen as the spouse of a U.S. citizen? Then contact US Immigration Law Counsel through our website or by calling 1-800-666-4996. We deal with the government so you don’t have to. We look forward to helping you at this time.