How to Gain Citizenship Through Marriage In the US

posted byLA Attorneys GroupMay 18, 2021

Although there are a number of ways to apply for U.S citizenship, one of the most common is obtaining citizenship through marriage.

Those married to a U.S. citizen can be sponsored by their spouse to obtain an immigration visa and become legal citizen of the United States.

In this article, we are going to be discussing the following:

What is a Family Immigration Visa

If you are married to a US citizen and hope to gain US citizenship through marriage, you will have to apply for a family immigration visa .

This is a type of immigrant visa which is issued to those hoping to permanently immigrate to the United States for employment or in this case, marriage.

Immigrant visas can be contracted with non-immigrant visas which are temporary, such as for business, tourism, or study.

Although we will go through the details of obtaining a family immigration visa later in the article, to summarize, a prospective citizen needs to be sponsored by their spouse, who must already be a citizen of the United States or a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Marriage happens to be one of the only ways for a Lawful Permanent Resident, or green card holder, to obtain US citizenship for their spouse.

Requirements For Obtaining Citizenship Through Marriage

If you plan to apply for US citizenship through marriage, there are a number of requirements that must be met.

To simply qualify for this type of citizenship, you must:

  • Be or 18 or older
  • A lawful permanent resident (have a green card)
  • Live continuously in the U.S. for three years before filing your application and until you are naturalized and be physically present in the US for at least 18 months
  • Be the spouse of a U.S. citizen for least three years and remain in this union until you take the Oath of Allegiance
  • Be able to read, write, and speak in English
  • Know the fundamentals of history and government
  • Demonstrate good moral character three years prior to applying for citizenship and until you are naturalized

Let’s clarify some of these points.

First is the “marital union requirement,” which states that an applicant must “live in marital union” with their spouse for three years preceding their immigration application. This means that you must be residing with your spouse and the application can be invalidated if you divorce, separate, or if your spouse passes.

Second, the applicant must be a permanent resident of the U.S. for at least three years prior to applying. Proof of this includes having a permanent residence, employment, attending school, and filing taxes.

The Process of Obtaining Citizenship Through Marriage

There are several steps that a prospective immigrant must go through before becoming eligible to obtain citizenship through marriage in the United States:

First, the applicant’s spouse, who must be a U.S. citizen, files a petition from inside or outside the U.S.

Then, the case is transferred over to the National Visa Center where documents are submitted and processed.

The next step is to pay the necessary fees.

The immigrant’s spouse then has to sign an Affidavit of Support, which states that they agree to be financially responsible for the applicant.

Then, the immigrant needs to submit an Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.

Civil documents or official documents from the immigrant’s home nation then need to be compiled and presented as part of the application, such as birth certificates or military records.

When applying for citizenship through marriage in the U.S. there are also a number of additional documents that are required, such as proof that your spouse is a U.S citizen, proof of marriage, proof that previous marriages have been terminated, and proof of marital union.

Examples of proof of marital union include joint bank account statements, mortgages, and income tax forms, among others.

The final step in obtaining an immigrant visa is an interview, to which you must bring photographs, civil documents, and a passport. You can verify which documents you need to present at the interview by visiting the U.S. Department of State website.

Plan to travel to the United States within 6 months of the visa being issued, and once you enter the United States, you will be a green card holder who is legally eligible to work.

Costs Associated with Gaining Citizenship Through Marriage

Once you complete the immigrant visa application, your status can be approved or denied. Then, you will be required to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee, one of the costs associated with obtaining citizenship .

There are also some mandatory fees that must be paid, such as the Family Sponsorship Form which costs $535, for example. All of these fees add up to approximately $1500.

However, this amount could be more or less depending on a number of factors, such as if you live inside or outside of the U.S. at the time of application.

Additionally, there are hidden costs associated with obtaining citizenship, such as vaccination fees, travel and shipping costs, and document fees.


Obtaining citizenship through marriage in the United States is a long and complicated process with many steps and requires an understanding of complex documentation.

For your application for an immigrant visa to be approved, it is essential that the necessary documents are compiled and that all procedures are fully understood and carried out, even if you are married to a U.S. citizen and have resided in the U.S. for a substantial period of time.

If you have any further questions regarding immigrant visas or are planning to obtain an immigrant visa in the near future, contact LA Attorneys today for further guidance.

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