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Difference Between 3 Year and 5 Year Citizenship

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Are there different documents needed if I apply for citizenship after three years while I’m married to a US citizen or five years, just waiting?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today’s question comes from Zahir. I’m going to read it for you here in a minute. It’s related to citizenship and what documents and rules apply when you apply under the three-year rule versus the five-year rule. So, of course, anyone who obtains lawful permanent residents in the United States is then on a path to citizenship.

Generally, you have to wait five years to apply for citizenship unless you get your green card through marriage. And if you are still married after three years, then you can apply and Zahir wants to know about the differences there. So here we go.

If you get a chance, can you make a video on what documents do we need in these scenarios? An N400 application with three years based on marriage, an N400 with five years without marriage, and an N400 five years with marriage.

So I think Zahir is trying to figure out is it fundamentally different to apply under the three-year rule versus the five-year rule? And generally, it’s a little bit different. So when you apply on the three-year rule, you’re going to have to reprove the marriage. And I told a woman this the other day on the phone and she was shocked. She was so upset to find out that she had screwed up by showing up at her N400 interview for her husband and they had applied on the marriage basis and they brought no marriage evidence.

So you’re going to need to reprove the marriage if you apply on an N400 after three years, and of course, it’s not as onerous or as detailed or as… You don’t need as much overwhelming evidence that the marriage is legitimate, but you’re definitely going to have to prove it up.

So by this point, three years into the marriage, they’re going to be wondering if you have any children. If not, they might ask you why. And more importantly, they’re going to want to see three years of a life lived together. So again, if it’s a sketchy marriage as a couple that lives apart, if they don’t have a lot of documents, if they don’t have joint assets or joint accounts, that’s going to make them a little bit more concerned and getting your case approved a little bit more problematic.

So Zahir, if you’re going to apply on that three-year rule, one thing you need to remember is generally you need to submit all your regular evidence. So whether it’s three years or five years, you need to submit your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, any birth certificates of your children, all your addresses for the last five years, your tax returns.

You want to make sure that you’ve paid your taxes. You’re going to need to be able to document that. So that’s going to be true under the three-year rule or the five-year rule. But on the three-year-old, you’re also going to have to prove up the marriage. So, of course, we always invite you if you need our evidence of marriage lists, we’re happy to send that out. Just send us an email at info@hackinglawpractice.com.

But Zahir the cases are going to be the same. You need all your biographic information, your passport, your travel history, all that stuff. You’re going to need to prove up your relationship if it’s a three-year case. And we hope you found this video helpful, Zahir. I hope these answers your questions.

If you have questions about the citizenship process and naturalization, we’re on a personal mission here to try to help 10,000 people naturalize by 2030. So if you need help, we’d love to help you. Give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. We’ve lots of good immigration information in there and sharing in there. And if you like this video, we ask that you subscribe to our YouTube channel. Follow me on LinkedIn so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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