Alien spouses of citizens who are assigned abroad by their U.S. employer can be exempt from the continuous residence and physical presence requirements. In order to qualify for this exemption, the alien:
must be a permanent resident;
must be physically present in the U.S. at the time of naturalization;
must affirm his/her intention to reside in the U.S. upon completion of the citizen spouse's overseas assignment; and
in most cases, affirm his/her intention to reside with the citizen spouse abroad upon completion of the naturalization process.
If these conditions are met, the alien can apply for citizenship right after he/she obtains his green card and does not have to wait the regular waiting time of three or five years after the issuance of permanent resident status.
A U.S. parent may apply for the expedited naturalization (i.e., without regard to residency requirements) of his non-citizen child if the following conditions are met:
at least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
the child is physically present in the United States pursuant of a lawful admission (not necessarily permanent residence);
the child is under eighteen years old and in legal custody of the citizen parent;
the U.S. citizen parent(s) must have been physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling no less than five years, at least two of which were after the U.S. citizen parent's fourteenth birthday;
if the U.S. parent fails to meet the residency requirement in (d.) above, then the alien child must be residing permanently in the United States with the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence, or the alien child must have a U.S. citizen grandparent who was physically present in the United States for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after the U.S. citizen grandparent's fourteenth birthday.
C. An alien who has served for three years in the U.S. military: If an alien served in the U.S. military for at least three years and is a lawful permanent resident, then he is excused from the regular residence requirements if an application for naturalization is filed while the applicant is still serving or within six months of an honorable discharge. To be eligible for this exemption, an applicant must:
have served honorably or separated under honorable conditions;
completed three years or more of military service;
be a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination on the application;
establish good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable.
Applicants who file for naturalization more than six months after termination of three years of service in the U.S. military may count any periods of honorable service as continuous residence or physical presence in the United States.
D. Alien children who are derivatively naturalized through the naturalization of a parent or both parents.
If an alien child was born outside the U.S. and is the child of one citizen and one alien parent, the alien child can be included in the naturalization petition of his alien parent if the child is unmarried and under eighteen. He must also be a permanent resident and reside in the U.S. before his eighteenth birthday. The usual residence requirements do not apply in this situation.
If the alien child's parents are aliens at the time of his birth, then if the child is a permanent resident who begins residing in the U.S. while under the age of eighteen and is unmarried, naturalization of both parents before the alien's eighteenth birthday automatically confers citizenship on the alien child. The usual residence requirements do not apply in this situation.
If the alien child's parents are aliens and one parent dies, or there has been a legal separation, citizenship is automatically conferred upon the alien child with the naturalization of the surviving parent, or parent with legal custody of the alien child. The alien child must be a lawful permanent resident who begins residing in the U.S. before the child has turned 18 and is unmarried. The usual residency requirements do not apply in this situation.
E. If an alien fulfills the following, his/her absence of more than one year from the U.S., or break of continuity of U.S. residence, will be excused:
The alien must be physically present and residing in the U.S. for an uninterrupted period of at least one year prior to the absence. This is an absolute requirement and no absences are allowed, no matter how short, for this one year period.
The alien or his/her citizen spouse was employed abroad or under contract with the U.S. government, a U.S. research institute, a U.S. corporation, a majority-owned subsidiary of a U.S. corporation engaged in the development of foreign trade or commerce, or an international organization for which the alien was not employed prior to becoming a permanent resident and of which the U.S. is a member.
The alien must request the extended absence naturalization benefits before he has been absent from the U.S. for one year.
The absence must be in furtherance of the alien's overseas employment. (Usually satisfied by a letter from the employer).
The effect of preserving continuity of residence for naturalization purposes is that an alien can meet the continuous residence requirement notwithstanding his absence from the U.S. for an extended period. In this case, the alien will be required to file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Immigration Purposes before you have been absent from the US for a continuous period of one year or more. You can find Form N-470 here, and the instructions to Form N-470 here. All other requirements must be met at the time of filing, with the exception of the physical residence requirement for U.S. government employees.
F. Ineligible aliens: The following classes of aliens are ineligible for naturalization even if they meet all naturalization requirements
Persons who espouse the overthrow of the U.S. government or all governments
Persons who have belonged to the Communist Party or any organization associated with it (exceptions apply)
Persons convicted of desertion during war time or draft evaders during war time, unless granted an unconditional pardon or amnesty by the President
Persons under a final order of deportation, unless they served in the military under certain conditions
Persons who claimed exemption from military service on the basis of being aliens, under treaties between the U.S. and foreign countries providing for such exemptions, unless the alien previously served in the military of the treaty country.
(Updated 10/08/12 by NT)
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