When can the Foreign Spouse of a US Citizen apply for Naturalization and become a US Citizen?
You fell in love with someone who lives outside the country. Then, went through the slow and complicated process to help her or him immigrate to the USA on a fiancé or spouse visa.
Later there was the process to apply for your spouse’s lawful permanent residency and green card.
As a Lawful permanent resident your spouse can continue to live in the USA for as long as he or she wants.
And can live here without ever becoming a US citizen.
However your partner can consider becoming a US citizen. This has benefits such as spouse can get a US passport and travel wherever you can go with your US passport. Your spouse can also vote.
If your spouse is interested in becoming a US citizen, and wants to become one just as soon as he or she is eligible to apply, this video is you.
How soon can your Foreign Spouse apply for US Citizenship?
You are a US citizen and your spouse is a lawful permanent resident. As early as the day of his or her third anniversary of being granted lawful residency, your spouse is eligible to be sworn in for citizenship.
And in practice many immigrants view it as a matter of pride, to become a US citizen, just as soon as they can. USCIS respects and encourages this eagerness to become “one of us”. So they welcome your spouse to submit his or her application as early as 90 days before the third anniversary.
And in many cases if processing goes smoothly, your partner can get sworn
in as a US citizen as early as on or immediately after the anniversary.
When your partner was issued his or her first green card, if your marriage was less than two years old at that time, your spouse wasn’t given a regular green card, instead was given a temporary, or “conditional” green card.
This green card was only good for two years. Basically US immigration waits to find out how it goes with your marriage.
Just before the conditional green card expires, you and your spouse applied once again to USCIS. This time the application was called “removal of conditions on residency”
When USCIS works quickly and smoothly, the permanent, “unconditional” green card, would be issued within a year of applying, and your spouse would have her or his new green card approved and in-hand well before the time he or she would be eligible to apply for US citizenship.
But currently due to Covid and other factors, USCIS is taking quite a long time to issue the unconditional green card. Now it’s often taking as long as two years.
Does your spouse need to wait for the upgraded green card to be issued
before applying for citizenship?
Does your spouse need to wait potentially much longer than three years?
The good news is “No”, your spouse does not have to wait.
As long as the application to remove conditions was submitted on time,
with the proper evidence, then regardless of whether the case has been approved or still in process, your spouse can apply once the 2 year 9 month
benchmark has been reached.
And because USCIS processing is so slow, and their backlogs are so full, it appears that they are really happy that your partner does not wait for the removal application review to be over, instead they welcome to process citizenship, cause if they approve citizenship, the removal case becomes irrelevant and they can close two cases from their backlog with one stroke at one time
Most of my VisaCoach clients do exactly this. We apply for removal on time,
as that is a fixed requirement in order to extend permission to remain in the USA as a lawful resident, then about 9 months later we apply for US citizenship. My client is usually sworn in close to the three year residency mark, and skipped getting a second green card.
This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach, here to personally guide you on this journey.