A Legal Permanent Resident “LPR” who is married to a U.S. service member can naturalize outside the United States if he meets the requirements pursuant to section 319(e)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, “INA.”
Section 319(e)(2) requires:
- That the applicant be the spouse of a U.S. service member stationed outside the United States.
- That the applicant be authorized to accompany the U.S. service member spouse outside the United States by official orders.
- That the applicant resides outside the United States in marital union with the U.S. service member spouse.
- That the applicant meets the requirements of section 316(a) or 319(a) of the INA at the time the application for naturalization is filed.
Section 316(a) is the general naturalization provision which requires that a noncitizen be an LPR for at least five years immediately before filing the naturalization application and that the LPR applicant be physically present in the United States for 30 months.
Section 319(a) is the naturalization provision that applies to LPRs who obtained LPR status pursuant to marriage to a U.S. Citizen. Under this provision the LPR must prove that he has been an LPR residing in the United States for at least three continuous years immediately before filing the naturalization application; that the applicant lived in marital union with the U.S. Citizen spouse for at least three years before filing of the naturalization application; that the U.S. citizen spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least three years immediately before filing of the LPR’s naturalization application and that the LPR applicant has been physically present in the United States for at least 18 months immediately preceding the date of filing the naturalization application.
If the LPR applicant establishes eligibility under either 316(a), 316(a) and 319(e), the time the LPR was residing with the U.S. Citizen spouse serving abroad may be treated as residence and physical presence in the United States. Furthermore, they may complete the entire naturalization process from abroad.
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. USCIS will then determine which filed office abroad has jurisdiction over the application to eventually schedule the Naturalization interview abroad.
It should be noted that an LPR applicant will need to meet all other naturalization requirements. We discuss naturalization and its requirements here. We also discuss disqualifying factors to citizenship here.
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