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Requirements for Naturalization Abroad by Spouses of Members of the U.S. Armed Forces

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R.4986 / Public Law 110-181) into law. Part of that law is a new section 319(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which allows certain eligible spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces to naturalize abroad without traveling to the United States for any part of the naturalization process.

To be eligible for naturalization abroad, lawful permanent resident spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces, who live abroad on official military orders, must meet the requirements of either section 316(a) or 319(a) of the INA at the time of filing.

  • Section 319(a) applies to individuals who have been lawful permanent residents for three years as the current spouse of a U.S. citizen, and continue to be married that U.S. citizen spouse.
  • Section 316(a) applies to spouses who have been lawful permanent residents for five years.

For naturalization purposes, the time eligible spouses have spent abroad on official military orders may count for both continuous residency and physical presence in the United States.

Individuals applying for naturalization abroad as the spouse of a member of the armed forces must live in marital union with that member of the armed forces. However, involuntary separations due to circumstances beyond their control, such as military deployments, do not prevent naturalization.

A spouse of a member of the armed forces must have official military orders authorizing them to accompany their spouse abroad, and must accompany or live with that member of the armed forces as provided in those orders.

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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