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Overseas Naturalization Eligibility for Certain Children of U.S. Armed Forces Members

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R.4986 / Public Law 110-181). This law amended Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to allow certain eligible children of members of the armed forces to become naturalized U.S. citizens without having to travel to the United States for any part of the naturalization process.

Section 322 provides for the naturalization of minor children of U.S. citizens residing abroad. The general conditions are that at least one parent is a U.S. citizen, that the child is younger than age 18 and resides abroad in the physical and legal custody of that parent, and that parent has been physically present in the United States for a certain period of time. Section 322 requires that in general, the child must be temporarily present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission in order to complete the naturalization.

The amendments to Section 322 benefit children of U.S. citizen members of the military who are accompanying their parent abroad on official orders. Specifically, Section 322(d) provides that:

  • such children are not required to have a lawful admission or be present in the U.S.; and
  • the U.S. citizen-parent member of the armed forces may count any period of time they have resided abroad on official orders as physical presence in the United States.

Accordingly, a qualified child of a member of the armed forces, who is on official orders authorizing him or her to accompany and reside with that parent-service member, can file for naturalization from overseas and can proceed with the entire process overseas without being required to travel to the United States.

For the rest of this article please visit www.uscis.gov.

Chuck Hollis

Ohio Immigration Lawyer
Chuck Hollis - Attorney Bio

E-mail: cfh@hollis-law.com

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