USCIS has updated a policy guidance clarifying the “married” and “living in marital union” requirements for applicants filing for spousal naturalization. In short, the applicant and his or her U.S. citizen spouse must have been living together in marital union for at least three years before filing a naturalization application. When a green card holder (a permanent resident) applies to become a U.S. citizen, this process is called naturalization. To learn more about the requirements to become a U.S. citizen, please click here.


The process of getting a green card through marriage involves filing a number of different petitions, obtaining medical clearance, gathering supporting documents and attending an interview with an immigration officer. To learn more about marriage immigration, please click here. To learn more about the marriage petition interview and what to expect, please click here. To learn more about what happens if the marriage does not last, please click here.

In general, all naturalization applicants filing on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen must have been married and continue to be married from the time of filing for naturalization until the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance for naturalization. Previously, USCIS policy has stated that the couple must have been married for at least three years before the foreign national can apply for naturalization. In this new policy guidance, USCIS has made it clear that the applicant and their spouse cannot just be married, they must be married and living together for at least three years.

Evidence to Prove Living in Marital Union

In order to prove that the applicant and their spouse have been living in martial union for at least three years, some of the documents that can be provided are:

  • Three or more years of joint bank statements
  • Three or more years of joint housing documents (rental/lease/mortgage contracts)
  • Birth certificates of children

If none of these documents are available, it’s best to consult a legal professional to see if other types of documents can be used to prove marital union.

To find out more about what we do, please contact Scott Legal, P.C.


Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at

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