I am Married to a U.S. Citizen

General Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for naturalization under section 319(a) of the INA, you must:

  • Be at least 18 when you submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization;
  • Be a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States for at least three years immediately before the date you file Form N-400;
  • Have been living in marital union with your U.S. citizen spouse during the three years immediately before the date you file your application and while we adjudicate your application;
  • Have lived for at least three months in a state or USCIS district having jurisdiction over your place of residence;
  • Have continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least three years immediately before the date you file your application;
  • Reside continuously within the United States from the date you filed your application until the date you naturalize;
  • Be physically present in the United States for at least 18 months out of the three years immediately before the date you file your application;
  • Be able to read, write and speak English and have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States (also known as civics); and
  • Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States for at least three years immediately before the date you file Form N-400 and until you take the Oath of Allegiance.

For more information, see the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 12, Citizenship and Naturalization.

For information relating to spouses of military members, see our Citizenship for Military Family Members page.

For information about becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or petitioning for family members, please visit our Green Card or Family pages.

Spouses of U.S. Citizens Employed Abroad

Generally, if your spouse is a U.S. citizen who is employed by the U.S. government, including the military or another qualifying employer, and your spouse is scheduled to be stationed abroad for at least one year at the time you file your Form N-400, you may be eligible for naturalization under Section 319(b) of the INA.  Qualifying employers can include:

  • Certain American institutions of research;
  • American firms or corporations engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce;
  • Certain public international organizations; and
  • Certain religious denominations or interdenominational mission organizations.

In general, at the time of your naturalization interview and ceremony, you must be present in the United States under lawful admission for permanent residence and you must meet of all of the requirements listed above, with the following exceptions:

  • No specific period as an LPR is required (but you must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence);
  • No specific period of continuous residence or physical presence in the United States is required; and
  • No specific period of marital union is required; however, you and your U.S. citizen spouse must be in a valid marriage from the time you file your Form N-400 until the time you naturalize.

You must also establish that you will reside outside the United States with your citizen spouse immediately after naturalization and that you intend to reside in the United States immediately after your spouse’s employment outside the United States ends.

For more information, see the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 12, Citizenship and Naturalization.

Additional Resources
Last Reviewed/Updated: