While it’s a known fact that one route to becoming naturalized in the U.S is through marriage to a U.S citizen, there is more than meets the eye. The process of becoming naturalized is much longer than people think. Marrying a U.S citizen does not ascertain you immediate citizenship as opposed to popular belief. To attain citizenship, a series of application steps follows to which you have to become a permanent resident first before you apply for citizenship.
Step 1. Attain Permanent Residency by Use of Green Card
The first step to acquiring citizenship by marriage involves establishing permanent residency. You need to possess the permanent residency card “Green card” that acts as a proof for the immigration services that you are a permanent resident of the US. However, you must be in possession of the Green card for at least three years before you can apply for citizenship.
Step 2: Marriage to a US Citizen
To enter the U.S as a legally married couple and you don’t have a Green card, your spouse needs to fill a form, petition for alien relative, and pay the filing fee to obtain the visa permission to immigrate to the U.S. After your arrival, you should file to be a permanent resident. The immigration service department will then call you and your spouse for an interview, and if all goes well, you get the permanent residence. To become eligible to apply for citizenship, you must have been in the marriage union with the U.S citizen for at least three years.
Step 3: Applying for U.S Citizenship
After all the paperwork gets done, in comes the final and trickiest part. Before you can apply for citizenship, you must meet all the eligibility requirements set by the immigration service department to become naturalized. The terms established for eligibility to become naturalized include being 18 years of age, having stayed in the U.S for the last three years, being married to a U.S citizen for the same period, passing the moral test, law abiding, and other requirements. If you meet the bare requirements, then your quest to become a US citizen is fruitful.