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Rules applicable to spouses of US citizens and Veterans of US Armed Forces

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Spouses of U.S. Citizens

The US rules for American citizenship have special qualifications for spouses of US citizens. For example, certain lawful permanent residents married to a U.S. citizen may file for naturalization after residing continuously in the United States for three years if immediately preceding the filing of the application:

  • the applicant has been married to and living in a valid marital union with the same U.S. citizen spouse for all three years;
  • the U.S. spouse has been a citizen for all three years and meets all physical presence and residence requirements; and
  • the applicant meets all other naturalization requirements.

The US rules for American citizenship also provide exceptions for spouses of US citizens stationed or employed abroad. For example, some lawful permanent residents may not have to comply with the residence or physical presence requirements when the U.S. citizen spouse is employed by one of the following:

  • the U.S. Government (including the U.S. Armed Forces);
  • American research institutes recognized by the Attorney General;
  • recognized U.S. religious organizations;
  • U.S. research institutions;
  • an American firm engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States; or
  • certain public international organizations involving the United States.

Veterans of U.S. Armed Forces

Pursuant to US rules for American citizenship, certain applicants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to file for naturalization based on current or prior U.S. military service. Such applicants should file the N-400 Military Naturalization Packet.

Lawful Permanent Residents with Three Years U.S. Military Service

Exceptions are provided by the US rules for American citizenship for individuals who are lawful permanent residents and have served for three years in the U.S. military. Specifically, those individuals are excused from any specific period of required residence, period of residence in any specific place, or physical presence within the United States 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 these exemptions, 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; or
  • establish good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable.

    It is important to note that the US rules for American citizenship allow that applicants who file for naturalization more than six months after termination of the three years of service in the U.S. military may count any periods of honorable service as residence and physical presence in the United States.

    An applicant who has served honorably during any of the following periods of conflict is entitled to certain considerations:

    • World War I - 4/16/17 to 11/11/18;
    • World War II - 9/1/39 to 12/31/46;
    • Korean Conflict - 6/25/50 to 7/1/55;
    • Vietnam Conflict - 2/28/61 to 10/15/78;
    • Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm - 8/29/90 to 4/11/91; or
    • any other period which the President, by Executive Order, has designated as a period in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with hostile foreign forces.

    Basically, anyone who has served during any of the conflicts listed above may apply for naturalization based on military service after the qualifying service and the requirements for specific periods of physical presence in the United States and residence in the United States are waived.



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