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How long before Citizenship

Detroit, MI |

My husband and I have been married for almost two years now. He got his conditional green card a few months ago. After the two years of conditional, how long will he need a permanent green card in order to apply to become a U.S. citizen? I've read from the internet that if he is married to me for three years and held the green card for three years then he will be able to apply for citizenship. Does this three years include the conditional green card or it must be three years of permanent green card? And can the three years of marriage and three years of green card be overlapped? Or should we have waited three years after marriage to wait to get a non-conditional green card for three years and then citizenship? If anyone can answer all my questions, I would greatly appreciate it.

How long does he need to live in US continuously? Is it 18 months or 36 months? 18 months is mentioned over here If he get a job outside US and he left US after 3 years of continuous residence, Will he remain eligible to apply for citizenship?

Attorney Answers 2


You are correct in stating that a person needs to have Green Card status for 3 years before being eligible to apply for naturalization (citizenship). Those 3 years can include the 2 years that he has held Conditional Permanent Resident Status. I would suggest that you go to and review the "Guide to Naturalization" that is posted on that website. The Guide is the official Immigration Service informational booklet, and it should answer many of your questions. I hope that this information is helpful to you.

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As stated, the 3 required years start when his conditional green card was approved. That time overlaps your marriage. If he became a conditional permanent resident on 01/01/2009, he would have the required 3 years on 01/01/2012. The regualtions allow for him to file as early as 3 months before the completion of the 3 required years (i.e. after having a green card for 33 months). The 3 year filing is based on two foundations, first, that you remain married, and, second, that you file to remove the conditions of conditional permanent residency by filing to do so betwen 21 and 24 months after the conditional green card was approved.
He will need to be in the USA for at least 1 1/2 of the 3 years to meet the physical presence requirements. Once he becomes a US citizen, there are no residency requirements.

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