If you are married to a U.S. Citizen working for certain organizations overseas, you may be able to naturalize without having resided in the United States during the requisite period of time. This is process is called “expedited” naturalization and it is authorized under section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. At Goldstein & Scopellite, our expert Dallas expedited naturalization lawyers can help.
The purpose of INA section 319(b) is to allow people who reside abroad with their U.S. Citizen spouses, to become Citizens, as residing abroad, under certain circumstances, was no fault of their own (the Legal Permanent Resident).
Without this law, Legal Permanent Residents would either abandon their permanent residence status, by spending more than 6 months outside the U.S.; their U.S Citizen spouses would be deterred from working overseas in the U.S. interest as they will not go work outside the U.S. without their spouse; and time abroad over 6 months, will reset the clock for the Legal Permanent Resident to be allowed to apply for their Citizenship, to over four years after their return to the U.S.
Once you have become a Legal Permanent Resident you may apply for Naturalization under 319(b) in any part of the country.
Fingerprints can be done at a U.S. Embassy or U.S Consulate near you, either before or after filing the NATZ application. It is also possible to do them in the U.S., if you are still residing in the U.S.
Although you may process your NATZ application anywhere in the country, there are some factors to consider as customer service and processing times vary from one USCIS office to another. USCIS publishes the Field Office Processing times at: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do or, on its website at: https://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
Your application may not be approved (requires appeal) or the USCIS office may not be able to conduct the NATZ oath ceremony on the same day as the NATZ interview. So if the N-400 application was not denied, you may have to wait in the location where the oath ceremony will take place or go back to the foreign country and come back when the oath ceremony is set. An appeal (by N-336) will be required, if the N-400 application was denied.
As stated above, you will have to return to the United States for the interview and the for oath ceremony. It is usually possible to have the oath immediately following the interview, but this will have to be set up in advance.
Some USCIS offices will work with the applicant to make sure the interview and oath ceremony are the same day but you will need to use the services of an accredited attorney or immigration representative in order to make sure this occurs.
Larger USCIS offices will have familiarity with the INA 319(b) process and criteria, however, there is no guarantee.
Finally, you will need to travel back to the foreign country and outside the U.S. with a U.S. Passport after Naturalizing. Therefore, choose a city that has a Regional Passport Office at: https://travel.state.gov/passport/npic/agencies/agencies_913.html for who can process expedited passport applications or you will have to wait in that city until the U.S. Passport arrives. Dallas, Texas does have a Regional Passport Office.