If you are married to a United States citizen, and are looking for an accelerated path to naturalization, this might be for you. Section 319(b) in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits United States citizens, employed by certain employers abroad, to aid in quickening their spouses naturalization process.
The naturalization process is normally lengthy and complicated. However, through Section 319(b) certain applicants are eligible who would otherwise be found not eligible. In addition, the residence requirements are no longer needed. Normally, continuous physical presence is necessary to become a citizen, which requires 2.5 years or 1.5 years depending on how you obtained your permanent residency, however this is not required under Section 319(b). Read below to see if you qualify.
Eligibility Requirements for the United States Citizen:
The United States citizen spouse must be assigned abroad for a period of at least one year. Or be “regularly stationed abroad” and employed by one of the following qualifying employers:
1. The United States government
2. United States institutions of research that are recognized by the Attorney General
3. A United States corporation or its subsidiary engaged in the development of foreign trade or commerce
4. A bona fide United States organization engaged in ministerial or missionary activities.
5. A public international organization
Eligibility Requirements for the Non- U.S Spouse:
1. Must be a permanent resident of the United States.
2. Must be legally married to a United States citizen.
3. Must be able to travel to the United States for the interview and oath ceremony.
4. Must state that he or she will join his or her spouse abroad within four to six weeks after the naturalization.
5. Must state intentions to reside in the United States immediately upon termination of the United States citizen’s employment abroad.
6. Must follow fingerprinting requirements. (Which must be fulfilled at either an Application Support Center, or a United States embassy/consulate overseas).
7. Must demonstrate a good faith intent to live abroad with their United States citizen spouse after being granted citizenship.
8. Must demonstrate a good faith intent to return and live in the United States upon their spouse’s termination of employment abroad.
Note: The non-citizen can be outside, or in the United States when the application is filed. If staying within the United States, he or she must be proceeding abroad based on an employment contract or order. If residing outside the United States when the application is filed, the United States citizen spouse’s employment abroad is not short-term or sporadic.
When normally applying for naturalization, the applicant must remain in the United States during the entire process. However, under Section 319(b) the applicant seeking expedited naturalization can apply while outside the U.S. The only required times the applicant needs to be physically in the United States is during their interview with a USCIS officer and when they are sworn in as a citizen.
The applicant starts the process by choosing the A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that will conduct the interview and naturalization oath administration. In choosing the USCIS field office, in which they want to process their application, takes consideration because processing times differ from office to office. Also, some field offices allow the applicant to be sworn in the same day as the interview, whereas others do not. In addition, convenient accommodation for travel plans differs between field offices.
However, after all these considerations, one can request expedited naturalizations at any USCIS field office. Most USCIS field offices are extremely flexible and accommodating in scheduling these 319(b) interviews for same-day oath ceremonies and in accommodating the travel plans of the applicants.
After the application is processed within the respective field office, the interview is scheduled, and naturalization can happen as soon as a few hours after that. This is a fairly simple and fast process, once all of the corresponding documents and eligibility requirements are met.
For More Assistance:
When applying for expedited naturalization, it can be a delicate and extremely time-consuming process. There are many documents and specific information that needs to be provided to USCIS. In addition, trying to navigate which USCIS field office to apply at and how to make adequate travel plans to complete the naturalization process, can be confusing without the right help. We recommend talking to an immigration attorney to ease the process. At Yekrangi & Associates, we have years of experience, and have filed many expedited 319(b) naturalizations. Consultations are held in person, by phone and via video services. Please contact us or give us a call at (949) 478-4963 if you have any questions or inquiries about applying for naturalization through Section 319(b).