Immigration Lawyer Ari Sauer – The Immigration Answer Man

Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.

Can I apply for citizenship based on 3 years of marriage to a US citizen if I got my green card through my employer?

QUESTION: I am a permanent resident. I got my green card through my employer four years ago. My wife is a US citizen and I have been married for three years. Can I apply for US citizenship now based on my marriage to a US citizen or do I have to wait until I have had my green card for 5 years?

THE IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN – ARI SAUER: As long as you meet the other requirements, you can apply now. A

US Passport (Credit: Quinn Dombrowski)

US Passport (Credit: Quinn Dombrowski)

permanent resident who gets their green card through employment is still eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization based upon marriage to a US citizen for three years.

How the person obtained their residence is not relevant. To meet the three-year rule a) the person must have been a permanent resident for at least 3 years, b) they must have been married to a US citizen for the past 3 years, c) the spouse must have been a US citizen for the past 3 years, and d) they must have been living together for the past 3 years. The applicant must also meet all other requirements, such as the continuous residence requirement, the physical presence requirement and the good moral character requirement.

But to be clear, in a situation where the person has had their green card for more than 3 years, but has not been married to the US citizen for 3 years or has not been living with their US citizen spouse for the past 3 years, they would have to wait until they meet the qualifications to apply under the 3 year rule or until they qualify under the 5 year rule, whichever is sooner.

If you would like assistance with your naturalization application or you would like to discuss this or other issues further, you can schedule a consultation with me by calling 1-800-343-4890 or 901-682-6455 or by clicking here to

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By Ari Sauer

Submit questions to The Immigration Answer Man by emailing your question to immigrationanswerman@gmail.com or by posting your question on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn. Questions submitted by email will be posted without personal information unless specifically requested. Due to the volume of questions received, not all questions submitted will be answered. Only general questions can be answered on this blog. For answers to specific questions about your situation, please schedule a consultation.

* This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is an attorney with the Siskind Susser law firm. www.visalaw.com/ari.html. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. the opinions expressed here are those of Ari Sauer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Siskind Susser.

8 comments on “Can I apply for citizenship based on 3 years of marriage to a US citizen if I got my green card through my employer?

  1. Devra Chuan
    September 4, 2014

    I am a green card holder with Category IR5, arrived here in the USA on August 13, 2011. Got married to a US citizen (since birth) on August 27, 2012 and lived together up to the present…. I went home to my birth country to attend my mother’s funeral on February 18, 2013 (meaning, I left USA on this date) and arrived back in the USA on March 1, 2013.

    Being a permanent resident in the USA is already 3 years and 20 days (as of 9/3/14)
    Being married to a US citizen & lived together for 2 years & 7 days (as of 9/3/14)
    Away from the USA for 15 days on a 1 trip only

    Am I eligible to apply for US citizenship?

    • In order to be eligible to apply for naturalization after 3 years of permanent residence based upon marriage to a US citizen, the foreign national must have been a permanent resident for 3 years, must have been married to the US citizen for the past 3 years, must have been living together with the US citizen for the past three years, and must meet the other requirements for naturalization. So even though a foreign national has been a permanemet resident for three years (but less than five years), if they have not been married to a US citizen for at least 3 years and living with their spouse for the past 3 years, then they are not eligible to apply for naturalization yet.

  2. brian itava
    July 19, 2014

    I am kenyan and i am looking forward to marrying an american citizen, is she the one to file the petion or me here from kenya? if me how should i do it?

    • In order for someone to apply for an immigrant visa to the US based on their marriage to their US citizen spouse, the process begins with the spouse filing a petition for the foreign national. In most cases this is filed with the appropriate US office of USCIS.

      It is recommended that applicants consult with an experienced immigration lawyer prior to beginning the process to make sure that they are eligible to apply for the immigrant visa based on the petition and to make sure that applying for the immigrant visa at the US consular post abroad is the best option for their needs and situation.

      * This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is an attorney with the Siskind Susser law firm. http://www.visalaw.com/ari. You can schedule a consultation with attorney Ari Sauer by calling 901-682-6455. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. the opinions expressed here are those of Ari Sauer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Siskind Susser.

      * This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is an attorney with the Siskind Susser law firm. http://www.visalaw.com/ari. You can schedule a consultation with attorney Ari Sauer by calling 901-682-6455. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. the opinions expressed here are those of Ari Sauer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Siskind Susser.

    • The beginning of the process is for your US citizen spouse to file the immigrant petition for you. Or if you are not married yet, you can consider a fiance visa. Each option has its pros and cons. I recommend having a consultation with me or another experienced immigration lawyer prior to beginning to process.

  3. Masoud
    January 25, 2014

    Please: I got my green card 5 years ago,
    I’m 65 year old. Now can I apply for my daughter who married and she is 30 old.
    Thank you if answer to me

    • Unfortunately, a green card holder cannot file an immigrant petition for a married son or daughter. In order for a green card holder to apply for their married son or daughter they must first become a US citizen. You have had your US permanent residence for 5 years, so you should consult with an immigration lawyer to see whether you are eligible to apply for naturalization to become a US citizen.

      * This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is an attorney with the Siskind Susser law firm. http://www.visalaw.com/ari. You can schedule a consultation with attorney Ari Sauer by calling 901-682-6455. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. the opinions expressed here are those of Ari Sauer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Siskind Susser.

  4. PATRICK ONUOHA
    October 24, 2012

    I THINK SIR YOU HAVE EXHUASTIVELY ANSWERED THE QUESTION

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Ari Sauer

Ari Sauer is an immigration law attorney with the Memphis office of the Siskind Susser law firm. Ari answers questions on US immigration law submitted by readers. Email Ari Sauer to submit a question. immigrationanswerman@gmail.com

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