As a Miami immigration attorney, some of my clients have questions as to whether they are eligible to naturalize as spouses of United States citizens. Below are some frequently asked questions.
I am married to a United States citizen. Do I qualify for naturalization?
You may qualify for naturalization if you meet the following criteria:
- Have been a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 3 years
- Have been living in marital union with the same U.S. citizen spouse during such time
- Meet all other eligibility requirements under this section
In certain cases, spouses of U.S. citizens employed abroad may qualify for naturalization regardless of their time as permanent residents. If you have any questions as to whether you qualify, you should consult with a Miami immigration lawyer.
What are the general eligibility requirements for naturalizing as the spouse of a U.S.citizen?
To be eligible for naturalization pursuant to section 319(a) of the INA, an applicant must:
- Be 18 or older
- Be a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing his/her Application for Naturalization
- Have been living in marital union with the U.S. citizen spouse, who has been a U.S. citizen during all of such period, during the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application and up until examination on the application
- Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization until the time of naturalization
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 18 months out of the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (also known as civics)
- Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law
Please note that no two cases are the same. You meet the criteria above, but it would still be a wise decision to consult with a Miami immigration lawyer to ensure that there are no impediments to your naturalization as a United States citizen.
I am the spouse of a U.S. citizen employed abroad. What are my options?
Generally, the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is employed by the U.S. government, including the military, or other qualifying employer, whose spouse is scheduled to be stationed abroad in such employment for at least 1 year at the time of filing, may be eligible for naturalization under Section 319(b) of the INA.
In general, a spouse of a U.S. citizen employed abroad must be present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence at the time of examination on the naturalization application and at the time of naturalization, and meet of all of the requirements listed above. However, there are several exceptions, which may apply to your case if your U.S. citizen spouse is employed abroad.
You must also establish that you will depart abroad immediately after naturalization and that you intend to reside in the United States immediately upon the termination of your spouse’s employment abroad. You may also want to consult with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss any additional steps that must be taken in order to tender a successful naturalization application.
If you would like more information on naturalization through marriage to a United States citizen, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at www.mmurraylaw.com.