Qualified Veterans Living Overseas May File for Naturalization

On May 28, 2021, USCIS issued additional clarifications in its policy alert that certain veterans who served and were honorably discharged from the military but are not lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may file an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) to naturalize under INA 329 even if they are currently residing outside the United States.

The policy guidance also clarifies that veterans residing outside of the US may at USCIS’ discretion and in coordination with US Customs and Border Protection complete naturalization interview at a port of entry with a USCIS officer.  All pertinent background checks, including U.S. Department of Defense military background checks (when required), must be completed before USCIS may interview the naturalization applicant.

Other highlights:

  • Clarifies the specific documentation USCIS refers to when reviewing whether the applicant served (or is serving) honorably, and, if the applicant has separated from service, whether the applicant was separated under honorable conditions.
  • Clarifies INA 329 requires both “honorable service” and, if the applicant has separated from service, a separation “under honorable conditions.”
  • Explains that, where an applicant who is currently serving submits a Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (Form N-426), such form must be certified within 6 months of submission of the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) to USCIS, except for applicants who enlisted in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program before October 13, 2017.4