The citizenship requirements for those applying for American citizenship can be broken down into three main categories: citizenship requirements for members of the US military; citizenship requirements for those taking the green card citizenship route; and citizenship requirements for those taking the marriage citizenship route (an off-shoot of the green card citizenship route). The main difference between the three paths to citizenship is the length of time one must be a green card holder prior to applying for citizenship.

Both the green card citizenship route and the marriage citizenship route require the citizenship applicant to already be a lawful permanent resident green card holder at the time they file their citizenship application. For non-marriage cases, the general rule is that the applicant must be a green card holder for five years prior to applying for citizenship. In addition, the applicant must show five years of good moral character. Criminal issues, illegal voting, failure to file tax returns, failure to register for selective service (draft) and failure to pay child support can all result in a negative finding of moral character.  However, those who are applying for citizenship by marriage to a US citizen need only be a green card holder for three years, and show three years of good moral character. This preferential treatment for participants in the marriage citizenship process make marrying a US citizen an attractive way to immigrate to the US and obtain citizenship. The more years an applicant is required to wait before obtaining citizenship, the more likely the applicant is to encounter negative situations that may affect a finding of good moral character. Also, green card holders are always subject to deportation and loss of their green card. Once they naturalize, however, very few things can affect their US citizen status.

Why hire a naturalization lawyer to help with your marriage citizenship case? Naturalization lawyers can help determine if you are eligible to obtain citizenship by marriage and, if not yet a green card holder, can assist in obtaining your spousal green card. Naturalization lawyers can also assist those citizenship applicants whose backgrounds may make it difficult to obtain a finding of good moral character, or who have not maintained proper US residence and physical presence since obtaining their green card. For a free consult with a naturalization lawyer, call 800.989.6742 today!