Guidelines for Expeditious Naturalization
This material is for Eligible Family Members of Department of State direct-hire personnel only. Other Agency spouses should contact their Human Resource departments for possible assistance with 319(b) naturalization.
Who Qualifies for Naturalization Assistance from the Family Liaison Office?
The following requirements must be fulfilled:
A foreign-born spouse must have entered the U.S. legally and have Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the U.S. (The LPR status may be conditional and if a "green card" has not been issued yet, an "A" number in the passport with the annotation "processed for I-551" is sufficient.) Additionally, one of the following very important requirements must be true:
The spouse must be going with the employee on an overseas assignment. In this situation naturalization cannot take place more than 45 days prior to departure from the U.S. We encourage you to contact FLO as soon as you have received the TM One Post Assignment Notification.
The spouse must currently be at an overseas post with the employee and, upon completion of naturalization on US soil, must depart the U.S. within 30 to 45 days to join the Foreign Service spouse at the overseas post.
Please note: USCIS will not waive this requirement.
Please be aware that only USCIS can adjudicate naturalization applications. FLO's role is to guide and advise DOS Foreign Service personnel and their spouses on the expeditious naturalization process, verify eligibility, and facilitate 319(b) naturalization. To receive further information please call FLO's Reception Desk at (202) 647-1076 or write to our naturalization specialist at FLOAskNaturalization@state.gov.
To begin, applicants must complete the Cover Letter Information Form (pdf). Fill out the form, save it to your computer, and return it to FLO with a copy of the post assignment notification (TM One) and the applicant’s Lawful Permanent Resident card. Based on the information you provide, FLO will generate a cover letter on DOS letterhead and send it back to the applicant together with the USCIS mailing address and instructions for submitting the N400 application.
Caveat: please do not submit the N400 application without the cover letter provided to you by the FLO office. The information in the cover letter enables USCIS to immediately recognize that the applicant is seeking naturalization under section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as the spouse of a Department of State employee.
The applicant should visit FLO's Expeditious Naturalization Application Materials and Information webpage for application forms, information, and instructions on preparing the application for submission to USCIS.
The current fee for processing an N400 application is $725. If you are applying from the U.S. you will receive a notice from USCIS directing you to a local Applicant Support Center (ACS) for a fingerprint appointment a few weeks after you submit the N400 application form. If you are applying from overseas, you should include fingerprint cards with your application. FLO will provide more guidance on fingerprints with the cover letter and application materials.
You may choose to complete the interview at any USCIS district office in the US; however, FLO's experience is that requesting a district office where they rarely, or maybe never, process a 319(b) case may cause delays. FLO recommends that naturalization interviews be completed at the Washington District Office in Fairfax, VA. FLO has strong contacts with this office and it is conveniently located so the new US citizen can quickly apply for a diplomatic passport at the Special Issuance Passport Agency in Washington, D.C.
USCIS will inform FLO when the background investigation is complete and the case is ready for adjudication, providing a quarterly calendar of possible interview dates. Then, FLO will forward the calendar to the applicant, who will indicate several preferred dates. USCIS will send the official interview notice for one of the selected dates to the Naturalization Specialist. In Fairfax, if the applicant is successful in the interview and exam, the oath ceremony takes place the same day. After taking the oath, the applicant receives a Certificate of Citizenship to prove that he or she is now a U.S. citizen. Cameras are allowed and guests are encouraged to attend the oath ceremony.
The average processing time is currently three to five months. Neither USCIS nor FLO has control over how long the background investigation portion of the naturalization process may take. Although you may have requested a certain date for the interview, if the case is not ready for adjudication you will have to wait. If you are overseas, please do not make travel arrangements until you have received an official interview notice!
Many applicants who are already serving overseas request an interview date during a time they may be able to take advantage of R&R travel. There is no financial assistance from the U. S. Government or the Department of State for this process. Applying to become a U.S. citizen is considered a private matter.
Attention Conditional Residents!
Conditional residents (category “CR” on green card or Immigrant Visa ) must file with USCIS the form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, (and pay all associated fees) during the 90 day period before the expiration date on the green card. Conditional residents, whose naturalization interview will occur any time after this 90-day window opens are encouraged to file I-751 as soon as they become eligible. If the applicant is eligible to submit the I-751 (within 90 days of conditional residency expiring), USCIS will adjudicate the N-400 application only in conjunction with I-751. Therefore, it’s in applicant’s best interests to file I-751 as soon as possible to avoid delays in naturalization.
The properly filed I-751 is necessary to maintain LPR status after the green card expires. Conditional residents who don’t file the I-751 on time may lose their LPR status, even when scheduled to have the interview prior to the expiration date. Without the LPR status, an applicant is not eligible for naturalization.
NOTE: FLO does not assist with the I-751. The awareness about the I-751 process is the sole responsibility of the applicant. For detailed information, please visit USCIS webpage Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Marriage.
Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office