Immigration laws permit green card holders to apply for naturalization to gain U.S. citizenship after 5 years for lawful permanent residency status. But if you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization under Section 316 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, after just 3 years.
But getting the Boston office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve your N-400 after only 3 years with a green card requires more than just a marriage certificate to a U.S. citizen. To gain approval of your application for citizenship, you must meet all of the following requirements:
1. your spouse must be a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years:
2. you must be “living in marital union” with your U.S. citizen spouse for 3 years; AND
3. you must have had your green card for at least 3 years.
Also, to be successful, you must meet all of the other requirements for naturalization including proving good moral character, residency, physical presence, and more.
Proving that you and your spouse have been living together continuously for 3 years involves financial documents such as leases, deeds, joint married tax returns, W-2s, jointly-held insurance, and joint bank accounts. Keep in mind that if you separate from your spouse–even temporarily–you may be disqualified from applying to become a U.S. citizen under the shortened 3 years of residency standard. And if you falsely claim to be living with your spouse, USCIS may deny your N-400 under the good moral character / false testimony grounds.
If you need an immigration attorney and are thinking about filing an N-400 or have questions about how to gain U.S. citizenship through naturalization, call me.