Is Marriage Really a Path to Citizenship?

Anabelle B. Filbert's Citizenship Legal Blogs

Licensed for 17 years

Attorney in Washington, DC

Marriage is not a direct path to citizenship.  But marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can qualify an individual for permanent legal residence—also called a green card.  The spouse of a U.S. citizen can then seek citizenship through naturalization after maintaining permanent residency for at least three years.  For spouses of permanent residents, the period may be longer.

 

For a U.S. citizen who becomes engaged to a non-resident living outside the United States, the path to citizenship for his or her fiance begins with acquiring a K1 fiance visa.  To qualify, one of the couple must be a U.S. citizen, they must intend to marry within 90 days of the nonresident spouse entering the country, they must both be legally able to marry, and they must have met in person at least once during the last two years. 

 

Some of these requirements are, however, subject to waiver under some circumstances.  Moreover, if the foreign fiance has unmarried children under 21 years of age, they may also qualify for entry under a K2 visa.  A Washington, DC visa attorney can determine whether a particular person may qualify for a K1 or K2 visa.

 

Once a foreign fiance enters the U.S. on a K1 visa and the marriage actually takes place, he or she can seek a green card as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.  He or she can then seek citizenship after maintaining permanent legal residence in the United States for three years.  During the period of permanent residence, a green card holder must comply with immigration laws and regulations, and maintain permanent residence.  Green card holders may not permanently move to another country or leave the United States for more than a year without acquiring a reentry permit. 

 

Following the rules

 

Failure to observe immigration regulations and other laws could result in loss of permanent resident status and may prevent a person from eventually qualifying for naturalization.  A Washington, DC immigration visa attorney can guide immigrants through the complex visa and green card process and help them maintain compliance with immigration laws on their eventual road to U.S. citizenship.

 

Experienced immigration attorneys in Washington, DC

 

A Washington, DC visa attorney at Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing may be able to help individuals who are seeking to enter the country, become permanent residents, or gain citizenship.  The firm serves clients in the Washington, DC area and throughout the United States.  Their offices are at 5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Washington, DC 20015.  They are available by phone at 202-536-3359 on through their online contact page.

Marriage is not a direct path to citizenship.  But marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can qualify an individual for permanent legal residence—also called a green card.  The spouse of a U.S. citizen can then seek citizenship through naturalization after maintaining permanent residency for at least three years.  For spouses of permanent residents, the period may be longer.

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