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Helping Same-Sex Spouses of U.S. Residents Obtain U.S. Citizenship

Same-sex couples married and/or living in Illinois are entitled to the same immigration rights and opportunities as heterosexual married couples. Accordingly, permanent residents who obtained their green card though same-sex marriage and now wish to become a naturalized U.S. citizen are eligible to do so. The Illinois same-sex marriage citizenship lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group focus on guiding same-sex couples through the maze of immigration laws, including the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship.

Please contact us at (847) 564-0712 to speak with an experienced and qualified Illinois immigration attorney to learn more about the citizenship and naturalization process.

Citizenship Eligibility and Requirements

Citizenship is available to immigrants, including same-sex married couples, under the following circumstances:

  • You have a valid green card (permanent residency status) and have lived in the U.S. for five years;
  • You are married to a U.S. citizen and have lived in the U.S. for three years;
  • You are a permanent resident, have served in the U.S. military, and have lived in the U.S. for three years; or
  • You are married to a U.S. citizen who is being transferred out of the U.S. by a government agency, armed forces, or multinational company. In this situation, USCIS will waive the requirement of 3 years physical presence in the United States.

In order to obtain citizenship, you will need to pass a U.S. government and history test and submit to a citizenship interview. During the citizenship interview, you will be asked a number of questions about why you are seeking U.S. citizenship. Moreover, if you are seeking citizenship under the condition of marriage to a U.S. citizen, you will likely be asked a number of questions about your relationship. Although the USCIS has said it will process same-sex marriage applications for visas, green cards, and citizenship in the same way as opposite-sex unions, the validity of the marriage and the duration of residence in the U.S. still remain a factors in obtaining U.S. citizenship. Accordingly, couples whose marriages are shorter in duration may be subject to additional scrutiny.

Residency Requirements

Just like opposite sex marriages, same-sex marriage may reduce the residence period required for naturalization from five years to three years. The USCIS states in its FAQs that, “as a general matter, naturalization requires five years of residence in the United States following admission as a lawful permanent resident.  But, according to the immigration laws, naturalization is available after a required residence period of three years, if during that three year period you have been living in “marital union” with a U.S. citizen “spouse” and your spouse has been a United States citizen.  For this purpose, same-sex marriages will be treated exactly the same as opposite-sex marriages.”

The Chicago same-sex marriage immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group focus on helping immigrants obtain the visas, green cards, and citizenship. We fully prepare clients, including binational same-sex married couples, for their interview with a USCIS immigration officer, advising clients on the best way to answer questions about why you are seeking U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship For Same-Sex Spouses
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Helping Same-Sex Married Couples Overcome Naturalization Problems

In some situations, applicants face challenges to obtaining U.S. citizenship. For instance, applicants with a criminal background, or you have had residency or visa issues, are more likely to have their citizenship application rejected. If you have a criminal background, or had visa or residency problems, our skilled Chicago immigration lawyers can explain your options and work with you to overcome these obstacles. If it would be unwise to apply for naturalization because of a possible deportation risk, we will advise you of these risks so that you can take the appropriate steps to extend your visa or green card.

The Chicago same-sex marriage immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group stand ready to serve those in need of immigration assistance, particularly those same-sex couples who need help with immigration benefits related to their marriage status. Please contact us at (847)564-0712 to speak with an experienced and qualified Illinois citizenship attorney.

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