The Blog Post will hopefully provide better guidance out there that may be nearly a decade old.
The 319e Naturalization Option is available for:
- Green Card Holding Spouses;
- Whose spouse is an “Active Duty” Member of the U.S. Armed Forces (Not a Veteran or Independent Contractor);
- Who Currently Live Abroad on official Military Orders; and
- The Green Card was acquired: 3 years ago based on the current marriage or 5 years ago if in a new marriage.
How does this Naturalization “Differ” from other Naturalizations?
Location, Location, Location! Naturalization under 319(e) can be done overseas. There are instances where applying overseas is more convenient.
How do you apply, and how online guidance may be outdated?
When doing a simple google search, a number of results appear with instructions from Government Websites. The instructions are a little dated, and that can be very important.
To start, it is important to know that USCIS has been performing N-400 Naturalization Filings electronically since 2019. Paper filings are inherently slower and becoming more and more outdated with a USCIS system/agency that is becoming more technology-based.
An E-filing for the N-400 can be done online. Although there isn’t a 319(e) filing option in the N-400, you can either select:
- Other and explain: 319(E) Naturalization Abroad by Spouses of Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and where you are stationed
- 319(b) and select Washington DC Field Office in Fairfax VA
Both of the above selections should lead to the same office, USCIS Washington DC Field Office. If you state “other,” a USCIS Officer should direct it to Washington DC, and the filing should automatically be processed for an international Interview and Oath Ceremony. If you select 319(b), the Washington Field Office may think you would like to have a “quick” N-400 filing and sends an informal email providing availabilities. During the informal emailing with Military-focused Immigration Officers, you can select the 319(e) international option.
Where would the Interview be held internationally?
Before Budget Cuts and COVID, the International Interviews and Ceremonies occurred in numerous International USCIS Field Offices. During COVID, International Interviews and Ceremonies occurred in Frankfurt Germany and Naples Italy. Currently, the Interviews may be done in Germany and Italy. It may be by video call with a USCIS Officer, and the Certificate can be picked-up at the local Consulate. The USCIS Services regarding the 319(E) Naturalization are not updated online and may be slightly different when this post is reviewed.
Where to get more up-to-date information?
Calling USCIS’s Military Helpline at 877-247-4645 is a great resource and a good way to get more information on the 319(e) naturalization option.
Can I instead pursue a 319(b) Naturalization, instead of the 319(e)?
Yes, the two major differences are Location and Timing.
Many of our clients have elected to pursue the 319b Naturalization since travel to the US was possible and the timing just worked. For reference, the 319b can be filed at any USCIS Field Office, but the quickest office we have experienced is the Washington Field Office. The 319b is generally much quicker since it has more availability than 319e, and applicants can travel to DC, attend the Naturalization interview and ceremony, and then attend a “same-day US Passport Appointment” in DC or another same-day passport location. The end result is usually a quick detour to become a US Citizen and receive a US Passport, then a small trip to visit friends or family, and then a return abroad.
What documents does a 219(E) filing require?
The following documents would be required to be uploaded in the N-400 filing:
- Scan of a signed Form DD-1278 Certificate of Overseas Assignment to Support Application to File Petition for Naturalization. Signed by the military official certifying the applicant has “concurrent travel orders” or “accompanied travel orders,” and is authorized to join their spouse military service member abroad
- Military Dependent ID
- Current Military Orders
- Service Member’s LES for the past 12 months
- Chronological Orders (NAVMC 118.3) or SRB, if available on the MOL
- RED Report or SGLI or DD-93
- Passport-styled Photo, please wear professional attire
- Front and back Color Scan of the Green Card
- Foreign Birth Certificate, with English Translation is needed
- Marriage Certificate
- Any Prior Divorce Decrees or Certificates (or Death Certificate if the prior spouse is deceased)
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship of Active-duty Spouse, valid/unexpired U.S. passport, a U.S. birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, or the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, (CRBA/Form FS-240)
- Evidence of Marital Relationship: such as birth certificates for children born to you and your spouse, joint bank accounts, joint tax returns, etc.
- Fingerprint Cards may be required if USCIS is not able to re-use the previous fingerprints on file. Two completed fingerprint cards (FD-258) may be required to be completed at a U.S. military base or an American Embassy/Consulate
What happens to the Minor Children if the Spouse Naturalizes under 319(e)?
If the children are under 18 years of age at the time of the parent’s Naturalization, they may automatically become a US Citizen. A US Passport can be applied for. If within the US, the N-600 Filing with USCIS would provide a permanent, never to expire, US Citizenship Certificate.
INA 319(b) Naturalization Option: Spouses of U.S. Citizens Employed or Stationed Abroad
N-400 Naturalization: Efficient and Electronic from start to finish
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