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  • Writer's pictureMary Asomaning

Immigration Options for Military Service Member and Their Families

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

In honor of Military Family Month, this issue will provide a brief overview of the immigration options for military services members and their families.

Naturalization through Military Service

If you are a permanent resident and have served in the US Military, then you may be eligible to apply for naturalization quicker than most individuals under the Immigration Nationality Act (INA) where you:

1) Have served honorably for at least one year (under INA Section 328) or

2) Are currently serving or previously served through during a designated period of hostility (under INA Section 329)

Generally, as a former or current member of the Military, you may be exempt from certain requirements depending on which Section you are applying under. However, in either case, you will have to submit Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Services with your N-400, Application for Naturalization. Please do not fret over the process and requirement because most military bases or installations have a designated USCIS liaison (DOS or JAG officer) that can guide you through the naturalization process.

Expedited Processing for Spouses and Children of Service Members

Under INA Section 319(b), spouses of US citizen (USC) military service members that are stationed outside the US may be eligible for expedited naturalization if they:

· Are 18 years or older

· Establish that the service member is a USC that is or will be stationed outside of the US for 1 year or more

· Are authorized to accompany their spouse abroad by their Official Orders

· Are present in the US as a lawful permanent resident at the time of naturalization interview and naturalization ceremony

· Declare a good faith intent to reside with their spouse abroad or in the US when their service is complete

· Can read, write and speak basic English, and have basic knowledge of US history and civics; and

· Have a good moral character attached to the principles of the US constitution and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the US.

Also, a lawful permanent resident spouse of a service member may be able to naturalize outside the US under INA 319(e)(2). Lastly, certain children of US service members may automatically acquire US citizenship under INA 320.

Military Help Line

If you are interested in more information, USCIS has a helpline 877-CIS-4MIL (877-247-4645, TTY 800-877-8339) and e-mail address at exclusively dedicated to assisting military member, veterans, and their families.

We dedicate this post to all US Military Service Members and their families for their sacrifice and honorable service to our country!

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