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Exploring Faster Naturalization Through Marriage to a US Citizen

If I Get Married to a U.S. Citizen, Can I File My N-400 Naturalization Application Sooner Than 5 Years?

For many immigrants, the dream of becoming a U.S. citizen represents the culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. It opens a world of opportunities and rights, from the ability to vote in elections to accessing federal benefits and protections. However, the road to citizenship is often long and arduous, typically requiring five years of maintaining permanent residency status, also known as holding a green card. Does everyone have to wait five years?

Yes, such as tying the knot with a U.S. citizen. But does this really speed up the citizenship journey? Let’s take a closer look to find out. 

Reduced Residency Requirement for Naturalization

The standard requirement for naturalization is five years of continuous lawful permanent residency (LPR) status. However, if you have been married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years and meet the other eligibility criteria, you can file the Form N-400 after only three years as an LPR.  

Example: 

John married Sarah, a U.S. citizen, and obtained his green card in 2022. By 2025 (three years after he obtained his green card), John would be eligible to apply for naturalization based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen, assuming he meets all other USCIS requirements like good moral character, physical presence, and basic English and civics knowledge. This is two years earlier compared to the standard five-year wait. 

 

Additional Considerations for Naturalization

Marrying a U.S. citizen can expedite naturalization, but it’s crucial to consider several important factors. 

  1. Meeting all N-400 Requirements: Regardless of the chosen path, applicants must still fulfill all the standard N-400 requirements, including demonstrating good moral character, English proficiency, knowledge of civics, and physical presence in the U.S. 
  2. Bona Fide Marital Union:  If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, then it is common for USCIS to request evidence of the bona fides of your marital relationship at the N-400 step. If you are no longer married to your U.S. citizen spouse, you can still apply for naturalization. For comprehensive information regarding the impact of divorce on your green card, visit here.
  3. Conditional Green Card Holders: For those who possess two-year conditional green cards, you may still apply for naturalization three years after obtaining your green card. However, you must first file to have the conditions removed on your green card, which USCIS must approve prior to approving your N-400 application.   

Learn more: 

The Family-Based Immigrant Visa Journey Explained

Understanding Conditional Green Cards: Family Sponsorship Pathway

How Alagiri Law Can Help

At Alagiri Law, our seasoned immigration attorneys offer personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We can assist you in navigating the complexities of the N-400 application, determining if you meet all eligibility criteria. 

Achieving U.S. citizenship is a significant milestone in one’s life journey. To ensure a smooth transition, it’s crucial to seek qualified legal assistance. Contact Alagiri Law today and let us assist you on your path to realizing your citizenship goals. 

 

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