Does my legal resident alien girlfriend become a US citizen when we get married?

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Does my legal resident alien girlfriend become a US citizen when we get married?

Asked on May 6, 2012 under Immigration Law, Nevada

Answers:

Harun Kazmi / Kazmi and Sakata Attorneys at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, she will not. If she already has her lawful residency, she must qualify with 5 years of US residency. You marriage will have no bearing on her US citizenship since she did not get her residency based on your marriage originally.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of the United States and regulations of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), assuming you are a United States citizen, your girlfriend then becomes one upon marriage to you if she is not one presently assuming she wishes to apply to become one.

If that is her desire, I suggest that she and you go down to your nearest INS office and make an application for her United States citizenship after you two marry. Make sure you bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Congratulations!  Your wife will not become a US Citizen automatically upon your marriage.  You will have to apply for citizenship.  Now, before you can apply for U.S. citizenship under the immigration law with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – USCIS (formerly INS), you must first have a green card or permanent residence.  If you received your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, you may be able to apply for citizenship through naturalization after having your green card for three years. In all other situations, you must wait five years.  Good luck.


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