Can I Get U.S. Citizenship after Receiving my marriage Green Card?

After receiving your marriage Green Card, becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization can generally be the next step for those who desire to be. Check this article for general information about U.S. naturalization. For deeper information, check the Citizenship section of the Lawfully Immigration 101 page.


I. Why should I get U.S. citizenship?

It can be a proud moment to permanently become a member of the United States, but becoming a U.S. citizen can also bring some positive benefits. Some of the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen are as follows:

  • Access to a U.S. passport
  • The right to vote in U.S. elections
  • The right to apply to U.S. government jobs
  • The right to U.S. federal benefits
  • Ease of mind from being deported

II. When can you apply for U.S. citizenship?

Generally, all Green Card holders are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after waiting for a five (5) year period. (Five-Year Rule)

However, if the Green Card holder is married to a U.S. citizen, the applicant is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after waiting only for a three (3) year period. (Three-Year Rule) But the Green Card holder must have continuously lived together with the U.S. citizen for the three years. Furthermore, should the Green Card holder and the U.S. citizen get divorced before the three-year timeframe, unfortunately, the Green Card holder must wait for the five-year timeframe to apply for U.S. citizenship.


III. Are there other requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship?

Aside from meeting the timeframe requirement (three-year rule or five-year rule) for applying for a U.S. citizenship, the Green Card holder must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide tax returns for the three year or five years
    • It is crucial that the Green Card holder maintain tax records and pay for taxes as a permanent resident
  • Not represent yourself as a U.S. citizen
    • Representing yourself as a U.S. citizen can lead to delays and even a denial of your U.S. citizenship application
    • Registering to vote is a right reserved for U.S. citizens. Registering to vote could have serious legal consequences and lead to a denial of your U.S. citizenship application
  • Selective Service registration
    • Male applicants between the age of 18 and 26 are required to register with the Selective Service for future military conscription
  • Not be arrested for any offense that would result in removal
    • Arrest records and certified court dispositions documentation will need to be submitted with the U.S. citizenship application

IV. What are the steps to apply for U.S. citizenship?

After ensuring that you are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, and meet the other requirements above, you may now file for your application for naturalization.

  1. File N-400 (Application for Naturalization)
  2. Pay applicable filing fees and biometric fees
  3. Attend biometric appointment for fingerprinting, photographs, and signature processing
  4. Attend your citizenship interview
    • Civics Test
    • English Test
    • Questions concerning your application
  5. Oath of Allegiance

After a successful application process, and the administration of the Oath of Allegiance, the U.S. citizenship applicant will receive a Certificate of Naturalization, which will be required for the application for a U.S. passport.

Lawfully provides rich information and detailed guides for the U.S. naturalization process and achieving U.S. citizenship. Click here for free guides to apply for U.S. citizenship!