Filing For Divorce After 3 Years Of Marriage, Can I Still Apply For U.S. Citizenship?

The naturalization process is how green card holders eventually become U.S. citizens. There are rules to how long a LPR (landed permanent resident) needs to have held their green card before they become eligible for citizenship.

To apply for naturalization, you will need to file the “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400). For a child who is under 18 years old,you need to file the “Application for Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) or “Application for Citizenship and Issuance of a Certificate under Section 322” (Form N-600K).

Do I Need To Wait 3 or 5 Years From The Date On My Green Card?

Proof of meeting your fiance(e).
Proof of meeting your fiance(e).

To be eligible to file for naturalization using the 3 year rule, you must fulfill these requirements:

  • you are at least 18 years old
  • are currently married to and living with a U.S. citizen
  • have been married to and living with that same U.S. citizen for the past 3 years
  • your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the past 3 years

To be eligible to file for naturalization using the 5 year rule, you must fulfill these requirements:

  • you are at least 18 years old and:
  • have been a Permanent Resident for the past 5 years and have no special circumstances.

Over 90% of applicants for naturalization fall into the 5 year category.

Divorced My U.S. Citizen Spouse After 3 Years, Am I Eligible Under The 3 Year Rule?

divorce-before-rocIf you have already divorced your spouse before you gained citizenship, you will need to wait 5 years from the date on your green card.

It would not matter how long you were already married 3 years before your divorce. All that matters is whether you are currently still married and living with your U.S. citizen spouse when you apply for naturalization.

Furthermore, divorce will not make it more difficult to naturalize. It only means that you have to wait a few more years, and this will allow you to prepare for your civics test.

Have You Lived Outside The U.S. For Extended Periods Of Time?

Continuous residence” means that you have not left the U.S. for a long period of time. If you leave the United States for too long, you may interrupt your continuous residence requirement.

What if I was outside the United States between 6 and 12 months?

If you leave the United States for more than 6 months, but less than 1 year, you have broken
or disrupted your continuous residence unless you can prove otherwise.

cbp-denied-entryWhat if I was outside the United States for 1 year or longer?

In almost all cases, if you leave the United States for 1 year or more, you have disrupted your continuous residence. Unfortunately, this is true even if you have a Re-entry Permit.

If you leave the country for 1 year or longer, you may be eligible to re-enter as a Permanent Resident if you have a Re-entry Permit.

None of the time you were in the United States before you left the country counts toward your time in continuous residence.

If you return within 2 years, some of your time out of the country does count. In fact, the last 364 days of your time out of the country (1 year minus 1 day) counts toward meeting your continuous residence requirement.

You may file Form N-400 ninety (90) calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement if your eligibility for naturalization is based on the criteria explained above.

Fore more information about the process of naturalization, please check out the U.S. Citizenship Guide.

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