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American Immigration Issues for US Military Personnel

Transcript of the above video:

In this video as the name suggests, we're going to be discussing some specific issues with respect to the immediate family of U.S. military personnel when those immediate family members are either foreign nationals or specifically, a foreign national spouse or fiancée of U.S. military personnel. When I was first thinking of making this video, I thought about describing it as benefits to U.S. military personnel. But the word doesn't really seem to fit exactly so I decided not to call it that.

This is just specific things to think about for military personnel in the immigration process. So a couple of things - most notably there's another video on this website which discusses which discusses affidavit of support in the immigration context. It should be noted that most civilian petitioners who are trying to bring a fiancé or spouse to the United States, they are going to need to go ahead and show 125 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines number in order to go ahead and meet the threshold created by immigration authorities for ability to sponsor an immigrant in the United States. Active duty U.S. military personnel do not need to show 125 percent of Federal poverty guideline. Instead, they need to show a hundred percent of the Federal poverty guidelines.

Another thing to think about with respect to immigration issues for those who are perhaps married to the U.S. citizen who are traveling overseas with that U.S. citizen while the U.S. citizen service member is deployed abroad. Something major to think about is let's say that individual service member’s spouse has a green card. Well and eventually that couple would like to go ahead and see to it that the foreign national spouse goes ahead and naturalizes to United States citizenship. In that context well, that's certainly possible on most cases when occur 90 days prior to the three-year anniversary of that spouses’ arrival or adjustment to the United States permanent residents based on their marriage to their spousal counterpart.

It should be noted that there is a physical presence requirement for purposes of naturalization in the United States and that physical presence requirement in a way it sort of waived for the spouses of U.S. active duty military personnel. So for example, if someone is based in say Japan with their wife who say, your wife is of Thai nationality but has a green card in the United States. That presence on the part of the wife with the husband who is deployed or who has been stationed I should say abroad, that physical presence notwithstanding the fact that he is abroad it is considered for purposes of naturalization to be as if that spouse was present in the United States. So this is also the same for certain members of the United States civil service of the U.S. government who are working abroad and have their spouse with them abroad for purposes of naturalization determination that spouses presence abroad is considered to be as if they were in the United States proper.

So again, I guess that the benefit is notwithstanding the fact that the American citizens perhaps may not want to be stationed somewhere else that sort of everyone's given circumstances or circumstantial but that being said, it is something that it's sort of built into the system to allow the physical presence clock to continue ticking for purposes of naturalization while that individual’s overseas. Another thing to think about especially with respect to deployment and I do apologize to any U.S. military personnel who are watching this video if I'm misusing certain, for lack of a better term, terms of art with respect to the military. But with respect to deployment to say a combat zone, another thing to think about is it may be possible to go ahead and expedite various petitions for say fiancée or marriage visas or visas for the stepchildren of an American citizen who is about to be deployed. It may be possible to go ahead to expedite those and again there's exigent circumstances for processing those petitions rather quickly as opposed to dealing with that in just the same manner as one would with, you know, regular civilian population. Another thing to think about there's and again no one likes to think of the worst case scenario but in recent years, there have been changes to mostly through court action, there have been changes to the way that certain U.S. laws with respect widows of American citizens and it could be servicemen of American citizens are going to be treated with respect to things like adjustment of status. In the past, there was kind of a hard line rule that basically stipulated that it would be rather difficult for an individual who was a widow or widower of an American citizen, those individuals to go ahead and get their status regularized. That has been pretty well smoothed out and ironed out. And now, widows and widowers of American citizen servicemen or otherwise have a much easier time dealing with the immigration apparatus than was the case in the past.

But again, I don't think any of this should exactly be termed as a benefit as American service members are obviously putting themselves oftentimes in harm's way. So it's simply change, slight differences in immigration adjudication and enforcement and processing for those who are in the United States Armed Services.