Expedited US Naturalization of Spouses of US Expatriates (319(b))

US law requires that before an individual with a green card may obtain US citizenship, he or she must be physically present in the US for at least 2½ years out of 5 years, or 1½ years out of 3 years (if the applicant is the spouse of a US citizen). There is an exception to this law. Green card holding spouses of US citizens who are regularly stationed abroad may be naturalized without satisfying the physical presence requirement.

Who can qualify?

This exception applies to any person holding a green card whose spouse meets each of the following conditions:

1. is a US citizen;
2. employed by the US government, an American research institution, or a US company or subsidiary engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the US; and
3. is regularly stationed abroad.

Upon naturalization, the applicant must intend to reside with the US citizen spouse abroad, and to take up residence in the US immediately upon the termination of the spouse’s employment abroad.

What documents will I need?

It is necessary to present documentation confirming the qualifying employment abroad, as well as the marriage certificate and documents confirming the legitimacy (e.g., children’s birth certificates, joint property) of the marriage. It will also be necessary to have fingerprints taken, and provide tax documentation.

How does the process work?

There are four primary steps to the process:

1. submission of the application to the USCIS
2. fingerprinting
3. successful completion of the citizenship interview, and
4. attending the swearing-in ceremony.

Upon USCIS approval of the application, it will be necessary to travel to the United States to attend the citizenship interview at an USCIS District Office. Upon the successful completion of the interview, the applicant must attend the swearing-in ceremony in the United States. Although processing times vary, the entire process can be completed within 2–4 months.

How does White & Associates help?

We can plan this process for you in advance — from obtaining a green card through the naturalization ceremony. There is no limit on the size of the US company, so we are able to work with individuals who are self-employed and have their own US company which has posted the expat overseas. We assist the expat in gathering evidence to meet the “promotion of foreign commerce” requirement. We are also able to address logistical challenges, such as scheduling the naturalization ceremony immediately after the interview so that two separate trips to the US are not required. This expedited naturalization for spouses of US citizens working abroad is a tremendous opportunity as it provides the full protection of the US government to the spouses of US citizens and is available immediately after admission as a lawful permanent resident: there is no need to wait three years to naturalize. Please contact us so that you can explore how to best take advantage of this unique provision of US law.