Becoming a U.S. citizen can be a lengthy process, but it is worth the effort. One way to obtain citizenship faster is through marriage to a U.S. citizen and after obtaining a green card. In order to apply for U.S. citizenship, a qualified applicant must ensure eligibility and submit documentation supporting their request. 

Applying for U.S. Citizenship After a Green Card and Marriage

Step 1: Eligibility Requirements 

In order to apply for U.S. Citizenship as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the applicant must meet the following criteria: 

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age. 
  • Applicant must have had a Green Card for at least 3 years. 
  • Applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months of the 3 years. 
  • Applicant must have been married to and living with a U.S. citizen spouse in the U.S.  for at least 3 years at the time of filing. 
  • Applicant must have been living for at least three months in the State where the application is filed.
  • Applicant must continuously reside in the U.S. from the date that the application is filed until it is approved.
  • Applicant must be a person of good moral character.

Step 2: File Form N-400 

The next step is to file Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. This form is available on the USCIS website and can be completed online or by mail. When completing the form, be sure to provide accurate and complete information, and attach all necessary documentation. You will also need to pay the application fee. Once you have applied for the form N-400, make sure to read about travelling while the N-400 is pending.

Required Documentation to Apply for U.S. Citizenship After a Green Card and Marriage

Green Card: Applicant must include a copy of their Green Card (front and back) to prove lawful resident status. 

Marriage Certificate: A copy of the applicant’s marriage certificate to prove that the applicant has been married to a U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years. 

Divorce or Annulment Decree(s): If the applicant or applicant’s spouse were previously married, documentation is required to show that previous marriages have been legally terminated. 

Tax Returns: The applicant must provide tax returns for the most recent 3 years to prove that the applicant has filed and paid required taxes. 

Selective Service Registration: If the applicant is a male between the ages of 18-25 (or was in the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident at that age), they must provide documentation showing that they have registered with the Selective Service System. 

Evidence of Continuous Residence: The applicant must provide documentation showing that they have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months out of the required 3 years.

Examples of Acceptable Documents:

  • Bills (mortgage, rent, electricity, gas) 
  • Bank Statements
  • Employment Records
  • School Records

Evidence of Good Moral Character: The applicant must provide documentation demonstrating good moral character during the 3-year period preceding application for citizenship. Below are some examples of required documentation.

  • Recommendation from employers
  • Recommendation from community members 
  • Proof of volunteer work
  • Police and/or court records

Specific documents may be required depending on individual circumstances. It is advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide the applicant through the application process and ensure that all necessary documentation is provided.

Required Appointments, Interviews. and Oath Ceremony

Step 3: Attend Biometrics Appointment 

After submitting Form N-400, you will receive a notice to attend a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, USCIS will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. This information will be used to conduct a background check.

Step 4: Attend Interview/Examination 

After completing the background check, you will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer. During this interview, the officer will review your application, ask you questions about your background, and test your knowledge of U.S. history and government. Be sure to arrive on time, dress appropriately, and bring all required documentation.

Step 5: Attend the Oath Ceremony

If your application is approved, you will be scheduled to attend an oath ceremony. During this ceremony, you will take an oath of allegiance to the United States, receive your Certificate of Naturalization, and officially become a U.S. citizen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for U.S. citizenship if I obtained a green card through marriage but am no longer married to my U.S. citizen spouse?

Yes, you may still apply for U.S. citizenship even if you are no longer married to your green card spouse. However, the basis of your eligibility will be different as you will not be relying on the marriage. Rather, you will qualify on the basis of having five years of Lawful Permanent Residence and other requirements.

How long does the naturalization process take?

The naturalization process can take several months to a year or more, depending on factors such as the volume of applications, the complexity of your case, and the availability of USCIS resources.

What if my application for U.S. citizenship is denied?

If your application for U.S. citizenship is denied, you are allowed to appeal the decision by filing Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings within 30 days of the denial. 

Can I lose my U.S. citizenship after I obtain it?

 In rare cases, it is possible to lose your U.S. citizenship after obtaining it. This can happen if you commit certain acts, such as serving in a foreign military or engaging in terrorist activities, or if it is discovered that you obtained citizenship through fraud or misrepresentation. 

Can I still travel outside of the United States while my application for U.S. citizenship is pending?

Yes, you can travel outside of the United States while your application for U.S. citizenship is pending, but if you leave the country for more than six months, USCIS may determine that you have abandoned your underlying residency and deny your application. 

Do I need to speak English to become a U.S. citizen?

Yes, one of the requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen is the ability to read, write, and speak basic English. There are exceptions for individuals who are elderly or have a disability that prevents them from meeting this requirement.


Applying for U.S. citizenship after obtaining a green card and marrying a U.S. citizen can be a complex process, but it is worth it to achieve the dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. We recommend that you seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney. We would be happy to answer any of your questions about applying for U.S. citizenship after a green card and marriage. Book a consultation today!