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  • Writer's pictureAnna Choi

Is Your Spouse a U.S. Citizen? You May Be Qualified To Apply For Naturalization!

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Benefits of Becoming a U.S. Citizen

In addition to being formally recognized by the U.S. government as a United States citizen, there are many benefits and perks of obtaining your citizenship in the U.S. In addition to not having to worry about renewing your green card on a periodic basis, some of the significant benefits include:

  • Not worrying about submitting an AR-11 Change of Address Form with USCIS every time you change your permanent residence;

  • Have the right to vote and participate in the election process;

  • Easier to travel internationally without the need for re-entry permits or worrying about abandoning your legal permanent resident status;

  • In cases involving any illegal activity, a U.S. citizen has a right to a fair trial and to be represented by an attorney, without the threat of being deported;

  • Once a parent becomes naturalized, permanent resident children under the age of eighteen, who are in the lawful legal and physical custody of their naturalizing parent, automatically become U.S. citizens;

  • Become eligible to apply for federal jobs or to become an elected official;

  • Easier for your immediate relatives to immigrate to the U.S.;

  • Possibly receive help from the U.S. government if you are in need of assistance and outside of the U.S.;

Obtaining U.S. Citizenship Through Your Spouse

So, are you ready to finally start the process of becoming a U.S. citizen and have been wondering if you qualify? Depending on one’s circumstances, there are several ways that a current green card holder can apply for U.S. citizenship. For example, in addition to meeting all other eligibility requirements, a current green card holder may generally be eligible to apply for citizenship if they have either been in legal permanent resident status for at least five years, have been in legal permanent resident status the last three years and is married to a U.S. citizen spouse, or have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces.

If you are applying for naturalization based on your U.S. citizen spouse, it is important to note that you may be eligible to do so within three years of being in legal permanent resident status, as opposed to the general requirement of five years.

Do You Meet All Of The Requirements?

Prior to getting started, make sure that you meet all of the requirements below!


  • Age matters! You need to be over 18 years of age to apply for naturalization;

  • You need to have been a legal permanent resident and continuously resided in the U.S. for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the naturalization application;

  • You need to have resided within your current state for at least three months prior to the date of filing the naturalization application;

  • You need to have been living in marital union with your U.S. citizen spouse, who has been a U.S. citizen during the entire period, during the three years immediately preceding the date of filing the application and up until review;

  • You need to have been physically present in the United States for at least 18 months out of the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application;

  • Generally, you need to be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge of U.S. history and government;

  • You need to be a person of good moral character. If you have prior criminal history, make sure to discuss with an immigration attorney to see if you are eligible;

If you meet all of the requirements above, you can complete and submit your N-400 application to USCIS up to 90 days prior to reaching the three year permanent residency requirement.

*Please note that the information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult with an immigration attorney for advice specifically tailored to your case.*

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