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Expedited Naturalization Processing for Spouses of Military Members

By November 16, 2022Immigration
A military couple embracing their child

Under section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, “INA,” It is possible for Legal Permanent Resident, “LPR” spouses of U.S. military service members to request expedited processing of their naturalization application. We discuss naturalization and its requirements here. We also discuss disqualifying factors to citizenship here.

The greatest benefit from this process is that it eliminates the requirements to meet the provisions under immigration law requiring a specific period of residence or physical presence in the United States. The period is most often five years unless the LPR obtained LPR status through marriage to a U.S. spouse which would then require a period of three years.

As a result, other than the other eligibility criteria needed to meet for U.S. Citizen, the LPR applicant will only need to be an LPR at the time of filing of the application as well as demonstrate that the military service member spouse is regularly stationed or will be regularly stationed abroad for at least one year. Furthermore, the process must be completed within the United States.

The specific requirements pursuant to section 319(b) include:

  • That the LPR spouse be 18 years of age or older.
  • That the LPR spouse establish that the service member spouse is a U.S. citizen who is or will be regularly stationed abroad as a U.S. service member for a period of one year or more.
  • That the LPR spouse establish that he is authorized to accompany the service member spouse abroad by official orders.
  • That the LPR spouse be present in the U.S. as an LPR at the time of the naturalization interview
  • That the LPR spouse declare in good faith upon naturalization an intent to reside abroad with the U.S. citizen service member and to reside in the U.S. immediately upon the service member’s termination of service abroad.
  • That the LPR spouse be able to read, write and speak basic English.
  • That the LPR spouse have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government and
  • That the LPR spouse is and will continue to be a person of good moral character, attached to the principals of the U.S. Constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law.

Furthermore, section 319(b) will allow the LPR spouses of certain civilians to also request expedited Naturalization under the following circumstances:

  • LPR spouses married to U.S. government employees.
  • LPR Spouses married to an employee of an American institution of research recognized as such by the Attorney General.
  • LPR spouses married to an employee of a public international organization in which the U.S. participates.
  • LPR spouses married to a minister or priest of a religious denomination having a bona fide organization in the United States or a Missionary.

In summary, this process’ greatest benefit is the elimination of the requirements for an LPR to possess LPR status for three or five years allowing for application for citizenship as soon as it is discovered that the service member is being deployed.

The filing process will require the LPR applicant to submit the USCIS form N-400 as well as Form DD-1278, Certificate of Overseas Assignment to Support Application to File Petition for Naturalization and Fingerprint Card Form FD258.

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