When can the spouse of a U.S. citizen apply for citizenship themselves?

Question: How soon after receiving your green card are you able to apply for citizenship?  I am a lawful permanent resident and have been married to a U.S. citizen about a year and a half ago.

Answer:  In order to apply for citizenship, you have to be a lawful permanent resident for 5 years.  You can apply 3 months early, so add 4 years and 9 months to the date that you received your green card.

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, however, you can apply after (1) you have had your green card for 3 years and (2) you have been married to a US citizen for 3 years.  Once both of those things are true, you can apply for naturalization.  You don’t want to apply early or your application will be denied and you will lose your filing fee.
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