Integrity Legal

18th February 2010

Naturalization is the process of obtaining American Citizenship for a foreign national. In some cases, the US naturalization process can be very time consuming, but those who marry a United States Citizen and obtain immigrant status based upon that marriage are subjected to fewer requirements when it comes to US naturalization. This could be of interest to those who enter the United States on a K1 visa or K3 visa as either of these travel documents could put the beneficiary on track for eventual US Citizenship.

The US naturalization process can be relatively different for those who are in the United States military. About 2 years prior to the posting of this article, Congress enacted legislation to make the US naturalization process easier for those in the military. To quote a recent publications from the Department of Homeland Security:

“In June 2008, Congress passed the Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act to streamline the process for U.S. military service members seeking to become U.S. citizens. The act directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to accept fingerprints submitted by military citizenship applicants at the time of their enlistment or from prior submissions to the Department of Homeland Security, expedite the processing of citizenship applications, and implement procedures to ensure rapid electronic transmission of biometric information and safeguarding of privacy.”

Although Congress has enacted the aforementioned legislation, it is incumbent upon the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to implement the new policy. The above quoted DHS publication is an overview of the current status of the ongoing implementation of the Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act. To further quote DHS:

“USCIS has taken actions to meet the act’s requirements. Specifically, USCIS has implemented a process to use previously submitted fingerprints for military naturalizations, and it tracks and reports processing time to ensure that it completes adjudication of applications timely. USCIS has also undertaken several information technology initiatives to improve the military naturalization process. However, USCIS’ information technology systems, such as the application processing system and background check support systems, do not meet all user requirements. As a result, personnel must devote resources to work around system limitations. Further, USCIS had not yet completed a privacy assessment for its process to obtain enlistment fingerprints from partner agencies. Without such an assessment, we were unable to assess whether that process was properly safeguarded.”

A streamlined naturalization process for those serving in the US military is a “win-win” situation for both the newly naturalized Citizen as well as the USA as a whole. Although the above privacy issues must be further investigated hopefully the implementation of this act will prove to be an overall success.


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