Expedited Naturalization Under INA §319(b)

August 12th, 2015 by SRW Lawyers

Last week, I had the privilege of watching my client, a Thai national, become a U.S. citizen. She was administratively sworn in at the USCIS Buffalo Office by the Field Director after being approved for expedited naturalization under INA §319(b). She walked into the USCIS Buffalo Office as a conditional lawful permanent resident and about 2.5 hrs. later, she walked out a U.S. citizen.

As background, our client’s husband had contacted us about a year ago about his wife. At the time, the couple had recently completed the Fiancé Visa Process (I-129F Petition, K-1 Visa, Adjustment of Status) and the wife had been approved for conditional lawful permanent resident status and issued a green card valid for a two year period. However, shortly after she was approved for her conditional permanent resident status, the client’s husband had received news that he would be a civilian overseas pursuant to U.S. government orders for a period of up to five (5) years. When our client’s husband contacted us, he had read about re-entry permits on my blog and had questions about the re-entry permit process, as well as how to renew her green card when the time came.

When I saw his inquiry, my first response was to commend him on being proactive – we see too many clients who inadvertently jeopardize their immigration status by being outside the U.S. for a significant amount of time and not realizing that they are not fulfilling their requirements as lawful permanent residents. Second, I advised him that while a re-entry permit may be the right option, the first option I would want to explore is whether his wife would qualify for expedited naturalization under INA §319(b), given that he was about to go overseas on official U.S. government orders. If eligible and approved, she could become a U.S. citizen immediately. This would allow them to avoid the re-entry permit process, not worry about the amount of time she spends outside the U.S., and would even alleviate the need to apply to remove the conditions on her permanent resident status (Form I-751).

Subsequently, the couple scheduled a consultation with our office and we went over their background and plans. I was able to confirm that she should be eligible for expedited naturalization and went over the application process with them. At that time, we also agreed to request that the naturalization interview be scheduled at the USCIS Buffalo office so that I would be able to accompany her to the interview. We submitted the naturalization application at the end of March, 2015. In mid-June, we were able to begin coordinating logistics with USCIS Buffalo for the interview. The interview was on Wednesday, August 5th. Our client passed her civics test with flying colors. Since we had submitted all of the necessary documentation in support of her eligibility for expedited naturalization at the time of filing, the naturalization interview itself went quickly and smoothly. It was a pleasure witnessing our client’s happiness during this important event in her life!

 

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