Citizenship for Family Members

Spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces (service members) may be eligible for expedited or overseas naturalization. Children of service members may also be eligible for overseas naturalization.

For information on the general naturalization requirements and procedures for spouses of U.S. citizens who do not qualify for expedited or overseas naturalization, see the Citizenship section of our website. For general information on acquired or derived citizenship for children of service members, go to our Citizenship Through Parents page.

For information on citizenship for surviving spouses or children of deceased service members who died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by military service, see the Survivor Benefits for Relatives of U.S. Citizen Military Members page.

Expedited Naturalization for Spouses of Military Members

Spouses of U.S. citizen service members who are (or will be) stationed abroad may be eligible for expedited naturalization in the U.S. under section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

To apply for naturalization under INA 319(b), you generally must:

  • Be age 18 or older;
  • Establish your spouse is a U.S. citizen who is, or will be, regularly stationed abroad as a member of the U.S. armed forces for a period of one year or more;
  • Be authorized to accompany your spouse abroad by your spouse’s official orders;
  • Be present in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident at the time of your naturalization application interview;
  • Be present in the U.S. at the time of naturalization;
  • Declare in good faith upon naturalization an intent to reside abroad with your U.S. citizen spouse and to reside in the U.S. immediately upon your spouse’s termination of service abroad;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
  • Have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics); and
  • Have been, and continue to be, a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law.

Overseas Naturalization for Spouses of Military Members

Under section 319(e)(2) of the INA and 8 U.S.C. § 1443a, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who is married to a member of the U.S. armed forces can naturalize abroad without traveling to the U.S. In general, to be eligible for naturalization abroad under section 319(e)(2) of the INA and 8 U.S.C. § 1443a, you must:

  • Be the spouse of a member of the U.S. armed forces who is stationed abroad in that capacity;
  • Be authorized to accompany your spouse abroad by your spouse’s official orders;
  • Reside abroad in marital union with your spouse; and
  • Meet the requirements of either section 316(a) or 319(a) of the INA at the time you file your naturalization application.
  • Section 316(a) applies to you, if you have been an LPR for at least 5 years immediately before the date you file the naturalization application and have been physically present in the U.S. for periods totaling at least two and a half years.   Time spent living in marital union with your spouse who is abroad under military orders counts toward the continuous residence and physical presence requirements.
    • Section 319(a) applies to you if:
      • You have been an LPR for at least 3 continuous years immediately before the date you file your naturalization application;
      • You have lived in marital union with your U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years immediately before you file your naturalization application;
      • Your U.S citizen spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years immediately before you file your naturalization application; and
      • You have been physically present in the U.S. for periods totaling at least 18 months out of the 3 years immediately preceding the date you file your application. Time spent living in marital union with your spouse who is abroad under military orders counts toward the continuous residence and physical presence requirements.

You can file for naturalization up to 90 calendar days before you meet the time requirement for being an LPR. For example, if you are filing under section 319(a), you can file when you have been an LPR for 2 years and 275 days. However, if you file early under section 319(a):

  • You  must have been married to your U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years at the time you file;  
  • Your spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years at the time you file; and
  • Meet all other eligibility requirements such as good moral character and etc.

Use our early filing calculator to determine your earliest filing date for naturalizations.

For more guidance on naturalization for qualifying spouses of U.S. military personnel, including a quick reference chart on overseas naturalization, and filing tips, please see our policy manual

Overseas Naturalization for Children of Military Members

Certain children of service members, including certain children adopted by U.S. citizen parents, can become naturalized U.S. citizens under section 322 of the INA without having to travel to the U.S. for any part of the naturalization process. To be eligible for overseas naturalization, the child must appear on the service member’s official orders and live abroad with the service member.

Generally, under section 322(a) and (d) of the INA, a parent who is a U.S. citizen (or, if the citizen parent has died during the preceding 5 years, a citizen grandparent or citizen legal guardian) may apply for naturalization on behalf of a child born outside of the U.S. who has not acquired citizenship automatically under section 320 of the INA. The general requirements are:

  • At least one parent is a U.S. citizen or, if deceased, that parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of death.
  • The U.S. citizen parent or the U.S. citizen grandparent has (or at the time of death had) been physically present in the U.S. or its outlying possessions for at least 5 years, at least two of which were after the parent or grandparent  turned  14 years old.
    • If the parent is a member of the U.S. armed forces, any period of time during which he or she is residing abroad on official orders is treated as physical presence in the U.S.
  • The child is under the age of 18 years.

The child is residing outside the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent (or, if the citizen parent is deceased, an individual who does not object to the application). 

 

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