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Atlanta Immigration Lawyer > Blog > Family Immigration > How Long Must You Wait To Become A U.S. Citizen After Obtaining A Green Card?

How Long Must You Wait To Become A U.S. Citizen After Obtaining A Green Card?


If you are eager to get the job done of becoming an official United States citizen, this is understandable, and there are many out there with similar motivations and goals. Being a United States citizen comes with many benefits, especially if you come from another country that does not have all of the opportunities that America offers. But, depending on your status, you may have to wait a bit before you are eligible to apply for citizenship. Getting a Green Card is an essential first step to citizenship in the United States. Still, citizenship is not immediate, and there is a period of time Green Card holders must wait before applying to become U.S. Citizens.

Stringent rules and complicated procedures are put in place within the U.S. immigration system making it difficult and confusing for so many wanting to come to the United States to navigate. It is often helpful for individuals to have knowledgeable support as they work through the system. The Atlanta family immigration attorneys at Shirazi Immigration Law, Inc. offer seasoned guidance for individuals navigating immigration matters in the United States.

How Long Do Green Card Holders Have to Wait to Become Citizens?

No one is able to obtain a Green Card and jump right into citizenship. A Green Card holder must wait and live inside the country for at least five years before citizenship happens. By contrast, conditional residents only have to wait two years before applying. However, these individuals must make sure to apply at the two-year mark.

Exceptions to these waiting times do exist. One would be the ability to submit your application 90 days before your actual five-year anniversary date.

Another may exist for individuals married to and residing with United States citizens. Here there may only be a three-year time restriction instead of five. A person in this situation must be married at the time of their application unless they demonstrate their marriage was abusive. Both emotional and physical abuse by a spouse can be valid reasons that make a person eligible for the shortened time frame. Individuals in this situation can use Form I-360 and, if successful, only have to wait only three years and not be married when they apply. Children at age 18 have this same exception when they apply.

Also, refugees may be able to secure their own exceptions, which can shorten the waiting period to apply for citizenship. Asylees also can benefit from partial exceptions too.

These are just some scenarios that could change the length of time individuals are required to wait before applying for citizenship. There are many others. This is why meeting with an attorney that knows the system can be so advantageous.

Speak to a Georgia Immigration Attorney Today

At Shirazi Immigration Law, Inc., our experienced and compassionate Georgia immigration attorneys will work with you and help you find the best path to citizenship with the least amount of stress possible. Call Shirazi Immigration Law Inc. today for assistance with your U.S. immigration needs at 404-523-3611.



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