Military families often have to relocate multiple times throughout their service member’s careers. This can make it difficult to maintain a sense of stability and continuity for your loved ones. One way to help ease the transition is by obtaining US citizenship for the family. Here’s a look at how US military family members can apply for citizenship in California.
Citizenship for military family members
Children and spouses of US service members may be eligible for citizenship through the immigration & naturalization process. Sometimes children may be automatically eligible for citizenship without going through a lot of processes. On the other hand, spouses have a greater task; let’s look at their application process below.
The application process
The application process will depend on whether your partner seeking citizenship lives in or outside the country or if the sponsoring military spouse is a green card holder or a US citizen. Your unique circumstances will determine the type of forms you need to complete, the duration and the costs.
When both spouses live in California, the first step in the application process will be to file an I-130 form with the USCIS California Service Center. After approval, you’ll file an I-485 form with the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. The USCIS office will then schedule an interview, and if you pass, you’ll receive your green card within a few months.
The process will be slightly different for military families stationed outside of California. The first step is still to file an I-130 form with the USCIS California Service Center. However, instead of filing an I-485 form, you will need to complete a DS-260 form online. After that has been approved, you will be scheduled for an interview at the nearest US embassy or consulate.
The citizenship process can be long and complicated, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Sometimes, if you are not sure where to start or what you need, you can visit the USCIS office in your area or an embassy to be advised on how to proceed.