There are a few ways for a legal permanent resident to apply for citizenship. One of the quickest way for a person to apply for citizenship is through marriage. Normally a legal permanent resident must live in the United States for a minimum of five years before he or she can apply for citizenship. If the person is applying for citizenship through marriage, that wait is only 3 years.
There are a few requirements that the applicant must follow before he or she can apply for citizenship. For example, the applicant must have lived continuously in the United States for a minimum of three years after he or she has become a legal permanent resident. The applicant must also be in a legal marriage with his or her spouse who must be a United States Citizen for at least three years.
Even though the United States government gives the option for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) Spouse of a US citizen to apply for citizenship through marriage, it isn’t mandatory. The LPR spouse can wait until he or she has lived continuously in the United States for five years before he or she applies for citizenship. It is the choice of the applicant.
Applying for citizenship through marriage may require additional documentation such as proof of marriage. This makes applying for citizenship through marriage slightly more difficult than applying for citizenship after simply living in the United States continuously for five years as a legal permanent resident.
The applicant must also be able to prove that he or she has been living with his or her spouse in marital union for at least 3 years before applying for citizenship. The spouse must be a US citizen.
There are a few factors that may affect an applicant’s eligibility for citizenship through marriage such as the termination of the marriage before the 3-year mark. This may include the death of the US citizen spouse before the three-year mark (Exceptions are made for the spouse of a US Citizen who dies in military service). Divorce and separation may also affect an applicant’s eligibility to be able to apply for citizenship through marriage.
The US government gives exemptions to marriages that end before the three-year mark. Being the victim of battery by a US citizen spouse may make the applicant exempt from the three-year rule.
The United States government may ask the applicant for additional documents to prove that he or she qualifies for citizenship thorough marriage. For example, the government may ask for proof that the spouse of the applicant was a US citizen for at least three years of the marriage. There are many documents that can easily prove this such as a Naturalization certificate for a foreign-born US citizen or a birth certificate for a US born citizen.
The government may also ask for the applicant to provide the original marriage certificate. If the marriage took place in a country where English is not the primary language, a certified English translation of the document may also be required.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.
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