A. Children Subjected to Battery or Extreme Cruelty

In general, the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the United States may be eligible for naturalization based on his or her marriage under section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). On October 28, 2000, Congress expanded the naturalization provision based on a family relationship to a U.S. citizen. The amendments added that children of U.S. citizens may naturalize if they obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status based on having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by their citizen parent. [1] ​ See the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-386 (October 28, 2000). For more information regarding battered spouses or spouses subjected to extreme cruelty, see Part G, Spouses of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, Spouses of U.S. Citizens Residing in the United States, Section F, Eligibility for Persons Subjected to Battery or Extreme Cruelty ​[12 USCIS-PM G.3(F)​].​

1. Eligibility for Special Provision

A child [2] The child must be 18 years of age or older to apply for naturalization. is eligible for naturalization under the spousal naturalization provisions [3] Under spousal naturalization provisions, the child is required to show 3 years of continuous residence and physical presence at least half of that time. See INA 319(a). if he or she obtained LPR status based on:

An approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) as the self-petitioning child of an abusive U.S. citizen;

An approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) as the self-petitioning child of an abusive LPR, if the abusive parent naturalizes after USCIS approves the petition; [4] See INA 204(a)(1)(B)(ii). The definition of child includes certain stepchildren. See INA 101(b)(1).

An approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) as the derivative child [5] A derivative child is an unmarried child who can accompany the principal beneficiary based on a parent-child relationship. of a self-petitioning spouse of a U.S. citizen who was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen spouse; [6] See INA 319(a). See INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iii), INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iv), for inclusion of the derivative child in the VAWA self-petitioning provisions. See INA 319(a). or

Cancellation of removal where the applicant was the child of a U.S. citizen who subjected him or her to battery or extreme cruelty. [7] See INA 240A(b)(2)(A)(i)(I) or INA 240A(b)(2)(A)(i)(III).

A child is also eligible for naturalization under the spousal naturalization provisions if he or she had the conditions on his or her residence removed based on:

An approved battery or extreme cruelty waiver of the joint filing requirement for the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751). [8] The waiver must be based on either the parent being subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the petitioning citizen or LPR spouse, or the child being subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the conditional permanent resident parent or the petitioning citizen or LPR spouse. See INA 216(c)(4)(C).

The applicant must meet all other eligibility requirements for naturalization, including the requirement that the applicant is over the age of 18 at the time of filing. The applicant must be the genetic, legitimated,​ or adopted son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, or the son or daughter of a non-genetic gestational U.S. citizen mother who is recognized by the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent.​ [9] For further guidance on the definition of child for citizenship and naturalization purposes, see Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2].

Stepchildren of U.S. citizens may also naturalize under this provision if otherwise eligible. [10] See INA 101(b)(1).

2. Exception to General Naturalization Requirements

An applicant subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by his or her U.S. citizen parent is exempt from the following naturalization requirements: [11] See INA 319(a).

Living with the U.S. citizen parent for at least 3 years at the time of filing the naturalization application; and

The applicant's U.S. citizen parent, who petitioned for him or her, has U.S. citizenship from the time of filing until the time the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance. [12] See INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iii)(II)(aa)(CC)(bbb). See INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iv).

These exceptions also apply to derivative children.

B. Surviving Child of Members of the U.S. Armed Forces​

On November 24, 2003, Congress amended certain military-related immigration provisions of the INA. This included extending certain immigration benefits to surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased U.S.​ citizen service members. [13] See the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, Pub. L. 108-136 (November 24, 2003). See INA 319(d). See INA 329A.

1. Eligibility for Special Provision


​A surviving child, who has not already acquired U.S. citizenship, may be eligible for naturalization.
[14] See INA 319(d). For information on eligibility for surviving parents and spouses, see Part I, Military Members and their Families, Chapter 9, Spouses, Children, and Surviving Family Benefits [12 USCIS-PM I.9]. In addition, the child may qualify for certain exemptions from the general naturalization requirements. To qualify for this special provision, the applicant must be the child [15] See INA 101(c)(1). The child must meet the definition of child applicable to citizenship and naturalization. See Part H, Children of U.S. Children, Chapter 2, Definition of Child [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. of a U.S. citizen service member who died during a period of honorable service in an active duty status in the U.S. armed forces. [16] See Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. This includes service members who were not U.S. citizens at the time of their death but were later granted posthumous U.S. citizenship.

The applicant must meet all other eligibility requirements for naturalization, including the requirement that the applicant be over the age of 18 at the time of filing. The applicant must be the genetic, legitimated,​ or adopted son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, or the son or daughter of a non-genetic gestational U.S. citizen mother who is recognized by the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent.​ [17] For further guidance on the definition of child for citizenship and naturalization purposes, see Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. A person who is the surviving stepchild of a member of the U.S. armed forces is not eligible to naturalize under this provision.

2. Exceptions to General Naturalization Requirements

Under the special provision, the qualified surviving child is exempt from the following requirements:

Continuous residence;

Physical presence; and

Three-month physical presence within the state or jurisdiction.




Footnotes


1. [^]

See the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-386 (October 28, 2000). For more information regarding battered spouses or spouses subjected to extreme cruelty, see Part G, Spouses of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, Spouses of U.S. Citizens Residing in the United States, Section F, Eligibility for Persons Subjected to Battery or Extreme Cruelty [12 USCIS-PM G.3(F)].​

2. [^]

The child must be 18 years of age or older to apply for naturalization.

3. [^]

Under spousal naturalization provisions, the child is required to show 3 years of continuous residence and physical presence at least half of that time. See INA 319(a).

4. [^]

See INA 204(a)(1)(B)(ii). The definition of child includes certain stepchildren. See INA 101(b)(1).

5. [^]

A derivative child is an unmarried child who can accompany the principal beneficiary based on a parent-child relationship.

6. [^]

See INA 319(a). See INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iii), INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iv), for inclusion of the derivative child in the VAWA self-petitioning provisions. See INA 319(a).

8. [^]

The waiver must be based on either the parent being subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the petitioning citizen or LPR spouse, or the child being subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the conditional permanent resident parent or the petitioning citizen or LPR spouse. See INA 216(c)(4)(C).

9. [^]

For further guidance on the definition of child for citizenship and naturalization purposes, see Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2].

10. [^]

See INA 101(b)(1).

11. [^]

See INA 319(a).

13. [^]

See the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, Pub. L. 108-136 (November 24, 2003). See INA 319(d). See INA 329A.

14. [^]

See INA 319(d). For information on eligibility for surviving parents and spouses, see Part I, Military Members and their Families, Chapter 9, Spouses, Children, and Surviving Family Benefits [12 USCIS-PM I.9].

15. [^]

See INA 101(c)(1). The child must meet the definition of child applicable to citizenship and naturalization. See Part H, Children of U.S. Children, Chapter 2, Definition of Child [12 USCIS-PM H.2].

16. [^]

See Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2].

17. [^]

For further guidance on the definition of child for citizenship and naturalization purposes, see Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2].