Only a small percentage of military naturalizations occur overseas
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday, Sept. 30, that it will provide military naturalization services at four overseas military bases, due to the agency’s shifting international footprint and office closures overseas.
Service members and eligible family members who are stationed overseas will now complete their naturalization process at one of four “hubs” located at Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan; U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany; and Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. These hubs were selected based on their proximity to locations where USCIS international offices historically provided the most overseas military naturalization services.
“Ensuring that the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting the United States of America can become citizens while serving abroad is of paramount importance,” said acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli. “These service members and their families sacrifice so much to keep our country safe and free. I thank the Department of Defense for partnering with USCIS to ensure naturalization services remain available throughout their deployments overseas.”
USCIS officers, in close coordination with the Defense Department, will travel to each hub for one week each quarter to provide onsite naturalization services and answer applicant questions. Appointments will be required so that USCIS officers have case information necessary to complete the process. In fiscal year 2018, USCIS received 347 overseas military naturalization applications. Thus far in fiscal year 2019, the agency has received 520.
The first hub visits by USCIS officers are scheduled to occur in late October and early November to Camp Humphreys, South Korea, and Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, respectively. The USCIS office in Seoul closes on Sept. 30, making this region the first to receive onsite services at a hub location. Other overseas regions will phase in to this hub approach over the next nine months. If an applicant is unable to travel to the designated hub during the quarter that USCIS officers will be there, USCIS will follow existing procedures and coordinate with the applicant on a case-by-case basis to determine the best way to handle their case.
USCIS will hold a teleconference engagement on Oct. 9 to discuss the updated locations and will also conduct outreach events during hub visits to inform service members about citizenship and naturalization procedures as well as provide general information about USCIS petitions and applications.
In August 2019, in an effort to streamline and make immigration processing more efficient, USCIS announced that it would phase out all but seven of its international offices by July 2020. Many functions currently performed at international offices will either be handled domestically, by USCIS staff on temporary assignments abroad, or by the Department of State.
USCIS offers a toll-free Military Help Line at 877-CIS-4MIL (877-247-4645, TTY 800-877-8339) and email address at email@example.com exclusively for active-duty service members and their families, as well as veterans. Representatives are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm Central, excluding federal holidays. Members of the U.S. armed forces and their families stationed in the U.S. or overseas may access the help line using the toll-free number through their base telephone operator or using the Defense Switched Network. Additional information is available on the USCIS website. (USCIS)