If you are a U.S. green card holder, the general rule is that you may apply for U.S. citizenship once living in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years.
90-Days Early Application Rule:
Despite the five years of permanent residence requirement, you are actually allowed to submit your naturalization application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the 90-days before your five-year anniversary has arrived. The reason has to do with timing.USCIS will take a long time to process your petition, to arrange for you to be fingerprinted, and to call you in for the interview at which it actually reviews your application, tests you on your knowledge of English and U.S. government, and makes a decision on whether to approve or deny you.
Exception to Five-Year Rule for People Married to a U.S. Citizen:
You may apply for citizenship after 3 years of being a green card holder if you were married (and living with) a U.S. citizen spouse. This exception applies even if you did not get your green card through this marriage. So, for example, if you got your green card through your employer, then married a U.S. citizen after, then you still need wait only three years from the date of your marriage to apply for citizenship.
Exception to Five-Year Rule for Battered Spouses of a U.S. Citizen Granted VAWA Protection:
Congress didn't want immigrants to have to stay in an abusive marriage for 3 years just to get to apply for citizenship. Therefore, if you got your green card through the self-petitioning VAWA then you can apply for citizenship after 3 years of being a green card holder.
Please contact us at Bhagat Law for any inquiries regarding your citizenship case.
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