Immigration Issues/interview


Dear Madam:

My husband was a green card holder and became a US citizen in 2000.  I am still a green card holder. From 2004 till 2006 we lived abroad (I returned every 10 months to keep my green card valid). In the year 2006 we returned to the US and lived the last 3 years in the US and I left only once (3 weeks).

When can I apply for the US citizenship?  Is my waiting period 3 years because I am the wife of an American citizen or 5 years?


Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear S,

Your question a little unclear.  Did you get your greencard through your husband after he became a US citizen?  Or did he apply for you when he was still a greencard holder?  Either way, the rule is this:

Normally, the residency requirement is 5 years.

It is only 3 years IF your greencard was granted for being the spouse of a US citizen and the US citizen spouse has been a USC for at least 3 years and your marriage is at least 3 years old.  

I'm not sure if you are the same person "S" who asked me about the residency requirement for naturalization and potential abandonment issues.  Please check my previous threads on abandonment of permanent residency as well since you have been in and out of the US.

Good luck.

Eileen Chun-Fruto

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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