Marrying a U.S. Citizen: Basic Requirements for the Three Year Rule for Naturalization

Immigration Concept

Although a majority of permanent residents will not be eligible to file for citizenship until they have held a green card status for five years, some of them might be able to apply only after three years time. If you wish to qualify for this three-year rule, you should show proof that you:

  • Are 18 years old or older;
  • Have been legally admitted to being a permanent resident of the U.S.;
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. for three years at least following having been lawfully admitted to being a permanent U.S. resident;
  • Have been present physically in the country for periods that total 18 months at least;
  • Have been married and residing with your U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years before your application’s date of exam, with your spouse having been a citizen for these three years;
  • Have lived in the country for three months at least before filing your application;
  • Have continuously lived within the country from your naturalization application’s date until your citizenship admission;
  • Have been and continues (for all applicable periods) to be an individual with good moral character; and
  • Have satisfied with all the requirements to undergo naturalization.

The Rule on Requirements

While the bulk of these requirements might seem pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, in reality, immigration examiners interpret some requirements differently and strictly.

For instance, the requirement that you should show evidence that your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the entire three years while you were married to her or him. But what if your spouse is a naturalized citizen?

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Wrong Interpretation

So you applied too early because you did not fully understand the rules and mistakenly believed that you just had to be married to a citizen spouse and hold your green card here in Utah for three years. In this example, they might deny you naturalization because you interpreted the rules wrongly.

That said, it is best to get help from an experienced immigration attorney to help you navigate the complex web of immigration laws and help secure the best outcome for you and your spouse.