Foreign-born spouses and children of American service members applying for US citizenship may be eligible for naturalization overseas under a new rule that also loosens physical residency requirements.
If you know a foreign-born spouse, please give them this information. If your spouses club has an international spouses component, please pass this on to them.
There's two parts to this provision...time in residency and what counts and Spouses holding green cards who are married to a US service member can now deploy with a spouse without forfeiting time already spent on US soil toward time-in-country eligibility requirements. Children who are adopted are also eligible for this more lenient rule. Before a spouse/child who was married to a US service member who spent any time abroad (even on orders) would be able to keep 'credit' for the time they spent in the US but then they wouldn't get credit for time they spent during an overseas tour. Foreign-born spouses/adopted children are required to 'accumulate' five years to qualify for naturalization.
Of course, there's paperwork involved in this! If you have a PCS move, you have to fill out a DOD form DD1278. This form gives the Immigration Service proof that you are abroad on official orders. And there is a cost involved! Foreign-born service members can go through the naturalization process for free, but for family members it will cost $595 to apply for citizenship.
I hope having this information will be of some help to our foreign-born spouses and help them in their quest to become citizens.
More resources for foreign-born spouses can be found here.