When does the process of citizenship by marriage start?

I am an American citizen married abroad for 2 years now. I haven't actually submitted my spouse's paperwork yet for her residency in the US. I know the alien spouse of a US citizen can apply for the citizenship process after being married for 3 years.

My question is, even though I haven't filed her paperwork initially yet as of now, can we apply for her citizenship when we reach 3 years in our marriage?

submitted by /u/sonofbaker
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source https://www.reddit.com/r/immigration/comments/qdbfqs/when_does_the_process_of_citizenship_by_marriage/

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