USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Veterans Residing Outside the U.S. and Naturalization

USCIS updated its Policy Manual to provide clarifications regarding certain naturalization applications filed by veterans of the U.S. armed forces under INA §329. Guidance is effective immediately. Comments are due June 28, 2021.

Policy Highlights

  • Clarifies that naturalization interviews for veterans (non-current members of the U.S. armed forces) residing outside the United States must take place in the United States, but USCIS may, in its discretion, coordinate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to have USCIS officers conduct naturalization interviews of certain veterans at a port of entry.
  • Clarifies that, as with all cases, 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.
  • 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.

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Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21060130.

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