U.S. Citizenship Requirements for 3-Year Married Permanent Resident

Permanent residents who are married to a U.S. citizen can apply for naturalization after only 3 years- a full 2 years before most other permanent residents can. To be eligible, you must meet all the detailed requirements outlined in Section 319 (a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Here, we have simplified the requirements for you.
An applicant for naturalization after three years of marriage to a U.S. citizen must meet the following requirements:
Be 18 years of age or older
Without exception, applicants for this category must be at least 18 years old.
Be a green card holder for a minimum of 3 years
Prior to filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, applicants must have had their permanent resident cards for 3 years. On your green card, the date next to “Resident Since” indicates the exact date you were granted permanent resident status. You will be eligible for naturalization precisely 3 years from this date. However, the rules do allow you to file your application up to 90 days before your 3-year anniversary.
Have lived with your U.S. citizen spouse for a minimum of 3 years
An applicant in this category must be married to a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years prior to filing for naturalization. Their U.S. citizen spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for the entire 3 years, and the couple must remain married throughout the entire naturalization process including the oath ceremony. Divorce or death of the U.S. citizen spouse disqualifies the applicant from naturalization.
Have resided in the state or jurisdiction of filing for a minimum of 3 months prior to filing
Applicants must have resided in the state or USCIS jurisdiction of filing for at least 3 months before filing Form N-400. Moving to a new state or district will delay your eligibility to file by 3 months.
Have lived continuously in the U.S. for 3 years as a green card holder prior to filing the application
By maintaining a residence in inside the United States for the specified amount of time, you are showing your desire to assimilate to the American community and live in the U.S. Although you are required to maintain this U.S. residency for 3 consecutive years immediately prior to filing your N-400, you are allowed to take trips abroad as long as you continue to show your desire to maintain residency by continuing to file your taxes. You should, however, avoid trips longer than 6 months as these may cause a disruption to your permanent resident status. Additionally, you must continuously reside in the U.S. from the date you file your application until the date your naturalization process is complete. Certain exemptions may apply to this rule for applicants involved in employment overseas, including work with the U.S. Armed Forces or government.
Have been present in the United States for a minimum of 18 months out of those 3 years prior to filing the application
This requirement refers to the amount of time an applicant is actually present in the United States during the period prior to filing Form N-400. You must subtract every day you are absent from the United States. Exemptions for certain types of employment with the U.S. Armed Forces and government may apply to you.
Have a working knowledge of the English language and U.S. history and civics
Generally, applicants must know how to speak, read, and write English and know some U.S. history, as well as understand some concepts of the American government. There are, however, some exceptions to this requirement for applicants with learning or physical disabilities.
Possess a good moral character
While applicants are not required to be perfect, they must demonstrate good moral character and a desire to abide by the principles of the U.S. Constitution and the laws and guidelines of American society. Applicants must abstain from the following activities to maintain their eligibility to naturalize:
  • Crimes with intent to harm another person
  • Crimes of fraud against the Government
  • 2 or more crimes with a combined penalty of a 5-year sentence
  • Controlled substance law violations (of U.S., state, or foreign country)
  • Persistent drunkenness
  • Prostitution
  • Illegal gambling
  • Having more than 1 spouse simultaneously (polygamy)
  • Lying for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits
  • Failure to pay child support or alimony payments s ordered by the court
  • Incarceration of 180 total days in jail, prison, or other institution
  • Failure to complete probation, parole, or suspended sentence prior to applying for naturalization
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Persecution of individuals based on race, national origin, religious beliefs, or political or social affiliations






Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
Zontlaw.com is the premier online resource for helping you prepare your USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Our groundbreaking software will guide you, step-by-step through the entire application with easy to understand instructions, while checking for mistakes. We make the process so simple that you can do it yourself and we guarantee the USCIS will accept your application. Applicants with no complications, such as arrests or immigration violations, can easily prepare their N-400 without the help of a lawyer, however, the USCIS still denies or rejects thousands of applications every year.

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