The greater the number of laws and enactments, the more thieves and robbers there will be. ~Lao-tzu
Here are special classes of persons who may become naturalized even though they cannot meet all of the normal requirements with the particular exemptions for that class listed. Unless so listed, an applicant who comes within a special class generally must still meet the normal requirements and follow the regular procedures.
Wives and Husbands of United States Citizens
A person who is married to a citizen of the United States may become naturalized in the same way as any other alien or may take advantage of special naturalization exemptions that are granted to the spouse of a citizen of the United States. These exemptions fall into two classes, the first is granted simply because of the relationship to a citizen and the second is granted because of the relationship to a citizen who is stationed abroad. Both of these classes are discussed below.
Marriage to a Citizen
(1) whose spouse has been a citizen of the United States for at least three years; and
(2) who has been married to and living with the citizen spouse for at least the three-year period just before the date of filing an application for naturalization may become a citizen of the United States upon meeting all of the normal requirements for naturalization except:
Instead of five years' residence and 30 months' physical presence, the applicant must reside in the United States for only three years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence and just before filing the application. For at least one-half of that three-year period, or 18 months, the applicant must have been present in person in the United States.
Marriage to a Citizen Stationed Abroad
(1) whose spouse is a citizen of the United States working or serving in a foreign country for one of the reasons below;
(2) who, upon becoming naturalized, will live abroad with the citizen spouse; and
(3) who will again reside in the United States as soon as the foreign work or service of the citizen spouse ends may become a citizen of the United States if all the normal requirements for naturalization are met except:
(a) the application does not have to be filed in the place where the applicant lives, but may be filed in any Service office; and
(b) the applicant may be naturalized without having resided in the United States or any State, and without having been physically present in the United States, for any particular length of time after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
Generally, if the applicant is absent for one year or more at any one time during the three-year period just before-filing the application, he or she breaks naturalization residence and must complete a new period of residence after returning to the United States. This means that he or she will have to wait at least 2 years and 1 day after coming back before he or she can be naturalized. Furthermore. if during the three- year period he or she has been absent for a total of more than 18 months, he or she will have to stay in the United States until he or she has been physically present for at least a total of 18 months out of the last three years just before filing an application for naturalization.
Overseas assignment of Citizen Spouse
For the applicant to qualify for the exceptions mentioned previously, the citizen spouse must be working or serving in the foreign country:
(1) in the employment of the United States Government (including service in the armed forces of the United States);
(2) in the employment of an American institution of research recognized by the Attorney General;
(3) in the employment of an American firm or corporation, or its subsidiary, which is developing the foreign trade of the United States;
(4) in the employment of certain public international organizations in which the United States takes part;
(5) under authority to perform the functions of a minister or priest of a religious denomination having an organization within the United States; or
(6) under an engagement solely as a missionary by a religious denomination or by an interdenominational mission organization having an organization within the United States.
The applicant must include with the application a written statement indicating that the citizen spouse's employment meets these qualifications, that the applicant intends to reside abroad with the citizen spouse, and that the applicant intends to take up residence within the United States immediately upon the termination of such employment abroad of the citizen spouse.
Surviving Spouse of United States Citizen Service Member
Any person whose citizen spouse dies during a period of honorable and active service in the armed forces of the United States, and who was living in marital union with the citizen spouse at the time of the service member's death, may become a citizen of the United States if all the normal requirements are met except:
(a) the application does not have to be filed in the place where the applicant lives, but may be filed in any Service office; and
(b) the applicant may be naturalized without having been physically present in the United States for any particular length of time after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
Naturalization of Children of Citizen Parents
The fact that one or both parents may have been citizens of the United States at the time of a child's birth in a foreign country, or may have become naturalized citizens of the United States after the child's birth is not enough in itself to give United States Citizenship automatically to the child. Additional conditions which must be satisfied by the parents and child affect the question of whether the child becomes a citizen. A child who is under 18 years of age and a lawful permanent resident, who is not a citizen automatically through the parents, may nevertheless become a citizen if an application for naturalization is filed by the citizen parent on behalf of the child under certain conditions.
(1) The citizen parent must file an "Application for Naturalization," Form N-400, with the required fee.
(2) The child is required to submit a fingerprint chart, Form FD-258, if 14 years of age or older.
(3) The child's naturalization -- admission to citizenship -- must be completed before the child's 18th birthday.
The child and a parent (not necessarily the parent who filed the application on behalf of the child) would be required to appear at an oath ceremony to be administered the oath of allegiance, unless the child is of tender years, in which case the administration of the oath may be waived.
The child does not have to:
(1) speak, read, or write English;
(2) know about the history and form of government of the United States; or
(3) have lived or been physically present in the United States or in a State for any particular length of time after admission for permanent residence.
Naturalization of Adopted Children of Citizen Parents
A child who is adopted by a citizen parent or parents does not automatically become a United States citizen.
A child adopted either in the United States or abroad by two citizen parents (or only one parent if the parent is unmarried) and admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident before reaching the age of 18 years may naturalize if the child:
(1) is under 18 years of age;
(2) was adopted before reaching the age of 16 by the citizen parent(s);
(3) is residing in the United States in the custody of the adopting citizen parent(s), pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence;
(4) at least one of the citizen parents files Form N-643, "Application for Certificate of Citizenship in Behalf of an Adopted Child," before the child reaches the age of 18, with the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and
(5) the parents are be citizens at the time of filing the application.
The child is not a citizen until the N-643 is approved.
The child may also be naturalized under the procures outlined in the section entitled Naturalization of Children. This would be the only procedure available if the parents wish to change the child name as a part of the naturalization or if the adoptive parents are married and only one is a United States citizen.
Former United States Citizens
The only former citizens of the United States who are granted any exceptions from the requirements for naturalization in Pads 2 and 3 are persons who lost their United States citizenship during World War II as a result of service in the armed forces of certain foreign countries and women who lost their United States citizenship as a result of marriage to aliens. Both of these classes are discussed below:
Veterans of Foreign Armed Forces
Any person who:
(1) lost United States citizenship between September 1, 1939 and September 2, 1945;
(2) as a result of service between September 1, 1939 and September 2, 1945 in the armed forces of a foreign country; and
(3) fought against a country with which the United States was at war after December 7, 1941 and before September 2, 1945, may become a citizen of the United States if he or she meets all of the requirements for naturalization in Parts 2 and 3 except:
(a) the application for naturalization does not have to be filed in the place where he or she lives, but it can be filed in any Service office; and
(b) he or she can be naturalized without having resided and without" having been physically present in the United States or any State for any particular length of time after admission for permanent residence.
American Women Who Married Aliens
As a general rule, a woman automatically lost her United States citizenship if, before September 22, 1922, she married an alien, or her husband was naturalized in a foreign country, or if, between that date and March 3, 1931, she married an alien who was not of the white race or African race. In each of these instances, she lost her citizenship if she entered into the marriage with the intention of relinquishing her United States citizenship.
If citizenship was lost by such marriage, there are simplified ways in which United States citizenship and the rights of citizenship may be regained. However, not all cases follow the same procedure. For example, some women who were native-born citizens and whose marriages either ended before January 13, 1941, or who remained in the United States after the marriages, have been automatically given back their United States citizenship, but they must take an oath of allegiance to the United States before they can do what only a citizen can do, such as vote. Others must file an application for naturalization in order to get back their United States citizenship, but they are exempt from some of the requirements in Parts 2 and 3, such as from any particular period of residence and physical presence in the United States.
Any woman who was the wife of an alien at any time during the periods stated above and who wants advice about her citizenship may get it at the nearest office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service or, if she is abroad, at the nearest American Consulate.
Service Members of the Military or Veterans
An alien who has served or is serving in .the armed forces of the United States does not automatically become a citizen of the United States. Like other aliens, such alien must apply for naturalization and be admitted to citizenship. However, depending upon such matters as the period during which he or she served, the length of service, and other factors which will be mentioned below- he or she may be exempt from some of the requirements other aliens must meet.
Military Service During Certain Periods
A person who has served honorably and actively in the armed forces of the United States, no matter how briefly, during any part of the periods:
(a) April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918;
(b) September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946;
(c) June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955;
(d) February 28, 1961, to October 15, 1978; or
(e) October 25, 1983 to November 2, 1983 (for qualifying active duty in the geographic area of Grenada campaign), and who is not within any of the below listed ineligible classes is exempt from the following requirements.
(1) No lawful admission for permanent residence is required if he or she was inducted, enlisted or reenlisted at any time in the United States, the Panama Canal Zone, American Samoa, or Swains Island. If he or she did not at any time enter into such armed forces in one of the places mentioned he or she must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence before he or she can be naturalized.
(2) He or she need not have resided or been physically present in the United States or any State for any particular length of time.
(3) He or she does not have to file the application in the place where he or she lives, but can file it in any Service office.
(4) He or she may be naturalized regardless of the fact that the person has been ordered deported from the United States.
Ineligible Service Members
The following persons do not qualify for the special naturalization exemptions discussed immediately above:
(1) veterans who were discharged at their request because of alienage;
(2) conscientious objectors who performed no military duty whatever or refused to wear the uniform; or
(3) veterans who were once naturalized on the basis of the same period of military service and have since lost their citizenship.
The fact that a person is ineligible for naturalization as such a veteran does not mean that he or she may not be naturalized under the general naturalization laws applicable to other classes of aliens. He or she may still qualify for naturalization if able to meet the naturalization requirements applicable to other aliens.
Service for Three Years
Veterans who have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence and who have served honorably at any time for as much as three years, and who have received an honorable discharge, are entitled to certain exemptions from the normal requirements if they come within one of the following classes:
(1) When Three Years' Service Continuous. A person who has served honorably at any time in the armed forces of the United States for a continuous period of three years and who applies for naturalization while still in the service or not later than six months after discharge from service may be naturalized:
(a) without having resided and without having been physically present in the United States for any particular length of time;
(b) without filing the application for naturalization in the place of residence, it may be filed in any Service office; and
(c) regardless of the fact that the person has been ordered deported from the United States.
(2) When Three Years' Service Not Continuous. A person who has served honorably at any time for three years but whose service is made up of short periods of service, instead of one continuous period, and who applies for naturalization while still in the service or not later than six months after discharge from service is entitled to the exemptions stated in (b) and (c) immediately above. However, for any part of the five years just before he or she files the application for naturalization and which is between the periods of service, he or she will have to prove residence and the other qualifications for naturalization.
(3) Application Made More Than Six Months After Service Ends. A person who has the three years of honorable service but who fails to apply for naturalization until more than six months after such service has ended is not qualified for the exemptions stated in (1) above and must comply with all requirements except that:
(a) all service within five years of the date when filing the application is considered residence and physical presence in the United States; and
(b) the fact that the person has been ordered deported from the United States does not in itself bar him or her from becoming a citizen.
If a service member for any reason is unable to qualify for the exemptions given to these veterans he or she may nevertheless be naturalized under the naturalization laws applicable to other classes of aliens if those requirements are met.
Note to persons with three years of service who must apply for naturalization within six months after discharge: the application must be filed with the Service office within the six month period.
A merchant mariner whose employment aboard a vessel requires absence from the United States is exempt in part from the general residence and physical presence requirements for naturalization. He or she has the right to count the time of service as a merchant mariner outside the United States if such service was not as a member of the armed forces of the United States and it meets the-below listed conditions.
(1) It was performed on board a vessel:
(a) operated by the United States or one of its agencies and owned by the United States;
(b) with its home port in the United States and registered under the laws of the United States; or
(c) with its home port in the United States and owned by a citizen of the United States or a corporation organized under the laws of a State.
(2) It was performed:
(a) honorably or with good conduct;
(b) after lawful admission to the United Sites for permanent residence; and
(c) within five years of the date of filing the application for naturalization.
Employees of Organizations Promoting United States Interests Abroad
A person who has been lawfully admitted to this country for permanent residence and who thereafter is employed abroad by a United States incorporated nonprofit organization which is principally engaged in conducting abroad through communications media the dissemination of information which significantly promotes United States interests abroad and which is recognized as such by the Attorney General, may take advantage of special naturalization exemptions. Examples of such an organization are Radio Free Europe, Inc., Radio Liberty Committee, and Radio Marti.
Such a person is not required to reside or to be physically present in the United States for any particular period of time before becoming a citizen, if the following conditions are met
(1) he or she has been employed by the organization continuously for at least five years after becoming a permanent resident;
(2) the application is filed with the Service office while the applicant is still employed, or within six months after leaving such employment; and
(3) upon becoming a citizen, the employee must intend to take up residence in this country as soon as the foreign employment ends. If the applicant is no longer employed by the organization at the time of filing the application, then he or she must intend to continue living in the United States upon becoming a citizen.
Posthumous citizenship may be granted to an alien or noncitizen national of the United States who died as a result of injury or disease incurred in, or aggravated by service, in the United States Armed Forces during a specified period of military hostilities.
This is an honorific action which does not confer any benefits nor make applicable any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act to the surviving spouse, parent, son, daughter, or other relative of the decedent.
The decedent's nearest relative, or a properly appointed representative,
may request this benefit on Form N-644, "Application for Posthumous
Citizenship," with the required fee.
excerpted from Form N-17 (Rev 11/30/92) N
by Dept of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service
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