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Naturalization through marriage is a significant route for many non-U.S. citizens. This process allows individuals married to U.S. citizens to apply for citizenship under certain conditions. Typically, it requires the applicant to have been a permanent resident for at least 3 years and married to, as well as living in a marital union with, a U.S. citizen for the same duration.

This path, often pursued with the assistance of Aurora, IL immigration attorneys, is an expression of the U.S. government’s recognition of the importance of family unity. In this article, we look at how marriage can be a pathway to naturalization, discussing the validity of marital unions, filing procedures, and the nuances of continuous residence for spouses of U.S. citizens.

Meeting the Requirements for Marital Union and Living in Marital Union


The concept of living in a marital union extends far beyond the mere sharing of a physical address. It encapsulates a deeper, more substantive demonstration of a genuine and committed partnership.

When assessing the validity of a marital union, USCIS delves into various aspects of the couple’s life together. This scrutiny is not limited to the physical cohabitation but also encompasses the couple’s financial interdependence. Joint finances, such as shared bank accounts, joint ownership of properties, and mutually held investments, play a critical role in illustrating the depth and sincerity of the marital relationship.

Additionally, the presence and upbringing of children, if any, within the marriage, are considered significant indicators of a bona fide marital union. The involvement and commitment of both partners in the lives and well-being of their children, whether biological, adopted, or stepchildren, reinforce the legitimacy of the marriage.

Shared living arrangements are another crucial factor. This encompasses not just living under the same roof but also the shared responsibilities and day-to-day interactions that characterize a genuine marital relationship. Details such as joint responsibility for household chores, shared routines, and mutual support in daily life are indicative of a couple genuinely living together as a married unit.

Continuous Residence for Spouses of U.S. Citizens

This requirement, while being more lenient for spouses of U.S. citizens, maintains its importance in the naturalization process. Typically, the standard continuous residence period is reduced for these applicants, reflecting the U.S. government’s acknowledgment of the unique circumstances surrounding marriages to U.S. citizens.

To fulfill this requirement, spouses of U.S. citizens are required to demonstrate that they have resided continuously in the United States for a minimum of 3 years immediately preceding their naturalization application. This period of residence must be characterized by physical presence within the country, showcasing a commitment to residing in the United States as part of their marital life.

This requirement ensures that the applicant has established a significant and enduring presence in the U.S., signifying their dedication to being part of the community and the nation.

Filing for Naturalization Based on Marriage

Embarking on the journey of filing for naturalization based on marriage encompasses a series of detailed and critical steps. The process begins with the submission of Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. This form is the foundational step in declaring one’s intent to seek U.S. citizenship.

Following this, applicants are required to participate in an interview process, a critical stage where they demonstrate their commitment and suitability for becoming a U.S. citizen. Additionally, the journey includes the challenge of passing English and civics tests, designed to assess the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of the English language and U.S. civics.

It is essential to approach these steps with careful preparation and accuracy, as even minor errors or oversights can result in significant delays or, in some cases, the outright denial of the naturalization application.

If you are pursuing citizenship through marriage or have questions about your eligibility, Shobhana Kasturi, an immigration lawyer in Aurora, is poised to guide you through each step of the process. Contact us today for a personalized consultation and embark on your journey towards a new beginning.