Q: What is the first step in becoming a U.S. citizen I am Costa Rican and married to an American for 3 years with a child?
My daughter is a dual citizen and we will be living in Florida?
The first step would be for your U.S. citizen spouse to file with USCIS a Form I-130, "Petition for Alien Relative," as well as supporting documentation establishing that your marriage is genuine. In addition, you would need to file a Form I-485, "Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status," along with additional forms and supporting documentation establishing that you are eligible to adjust status.
Assuming you entered the United States legally, any unlawful presence and any unlawful employment in this country would be excused. This is the case because your application is based upon marriage to a U.S. citizen. Your eligibility to adjust status assumes that there are no other adverse or disqualifying factors present in your case. You and your spouse should expect to be interviewed by a USCIS officer as part of the adjudicative process. Assuming your case were favorably adjudicated, you would then receive your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
You would then become eligible to file a Form N-400, "Application for Naturalization," after three years of continuous residence as an LPR assuming you and your husband remain together. You would be able to file your Form N-400 up to 90 days prior to meeting the eligibility requirements.
You and your spouse would be well advised to consult with a licensed attorney who specializes in immigration and nationality law. Good luck to you both!
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