Applicants coming to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy cannot bring large personal electronic devices to the Embassy. Those items include but are not limited to: laptops, iPads, tablet devices, handheld gaming devices, cameras, and digital watches. The Embassy local guard force cannot store laptops and large electronic devices for customers. Please make arrangements to leave large devices elsewhere before arriving at the U.S. Embassy to avoid inconveniences.
We see passport applicants by appointment only. Book an appointment when you have assembled all the required documents. Only properly documented U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals may obtain U.S. passports.
It usually takes 2 weeks to receive the passport. There is no expeditious processing as is offered to passport applicants inside the U.S. Since many countries require a passport valid for 6 months for entry, please apply well in advance of your intended travel or passport’s expiration.
Americans may apply for a credit card sized, laminated passport card for land and water travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean, and for use as a convenient identity card. Air travel, and all travel to other destinations, still requires a passport book.
What Service Do You Require?
U.S. law does not prohibit dual nationality, but an American may jeopardize his/her U.S. citizenship by performing an expatriating act. A U.S. citizen who holds other citizenship may generally retain U.S. citizenship. Determination of dual nationality can only be made by applying for a U.S. passport or registration, not by phone or mail. For more information, please see Travel.State.Gov.
(319(b)) for Spouses of U.S. Citizens Employed Abroad
Section 319(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (INA) and Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR) 319.2 permit the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen (USC) employed in certain capacities overseas to be expeditiously naturalized. The term “expeditious” refers to the fact that a spouse eligible under INA 319(b) is not required to satisfy the normal continuous U.S. three-year residency requirement generally applicable to the spouse of a USC. Many foreign-born spouses are newly married, have never lived in the U.S. and, because of the overseas assignment, may have difficulty meeting the three-year residency requirement. Naturalization is under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). All forms and instructions are available at the USCIS website.
- The USC is employed by either: (1) the U.S. Government; (2) an American institution of research recognized as such by the Secretary of Homeland Security; (3) an American firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the U.S., or a subsidiary thereof; (4) a public international organization in which the U.S. participates by treaty or statute; (5) a religious denomination having a bona fide organization within the U.S. in which the USC is authorized to perform ministerial or priestly functions; or (6) a religious denomination or interdenominational mission organization having a bona fide organization within the U.S. in which the USC is engaged solely as a missionary.
- The USC must be “regularly stationed abroad” in one of the employment situations described above. A USC is regularly stationed abroad if s/he proceeds abroad, for a period of not less than one year, pursuant to an employment contract or orders, and assumes the duties of employment.
- If the USC is already employed abroad, the employment must continue for at least 12 months. Because the average 319(b) processing time is 4 – 6 months, it is recommended that the length of the USC’s employment be 16 – 18 months from the date the 319(b) application is filed, to have the required12 months overseas remaining at the time of expeditious naturalization.
- If the USC is not yet employed abroad, the USC can still be in the U.S. at the time of the spouse’s expeditious naturalization if the USC is going abroad for not less than one year under an employment contract or orders. Applicants meeting this criterion must file at their local USCIS district office and request
Foreign Spouse Requirements
- The USC and the spouse are validly married;
- The spouse must be in the U.S. at the time of the naturalization interview and the oath ceremony;
- The spouse is a lawful permanent resident at the time of interview (The status may be conditional and if a “green card” has not been issued yet, an “A” number in the spouse’s passport with the annotation “processed for I-551” is sufficient);
- The spouse declares an intention to: (i) reside abroad with the USC; and (ii) take up residence in the U.S. immediately upon the termination of the USC’s employment abroad;
- The spouse is a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, and favorably disposed toward the good order and happiness of the U.S.;
- The spouse has basic knowledge of U.S. history and government, and English language skills;
- The spouse will comply with all other requirements for naturalization except for the physical presence and continuous residence requirements; and
- The spouse will notify USCIS of any changes, such as cancellation of the USC’s employment abroad or if s/he is unable to reside overseas because the USC is employed abroad in an area of hostilities where dependents may not reside.
A spouse is ineligible for this benefit if the marriage ceases due to death or divorce, or the USC has expatriated. Eligibility is not restored to a spouse whose relationship to the USC terminates before the spouse’s naturalization, even though the spouse subsequently marries another USC.
The spouse must file an Application for Naturalization (N-400) by mail to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the USCIS District Office of Suboffice where the spouse wishes to be interviewed and naturalized (filing addresses can be found in N-400 instructions). The spouse must designate a domestic USCIS District Office or Suboffice for naturalization with a date. The spouse may request alternate locations and dates. To learn the whereabouts of domestic USCIS offices, please visit USCIS Service and Office Locator. The Service Center will process the application and forward it to the requested District or Sub-Office.
All of the following documents must be included in the 319(b) application package:
- Completed, signed and dated N-400 on which Part 2D “Other” should be check-marked and “INA 319(b)” indicated;
- Personal or cashier’s check drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, or U.S. postal money order, payable to “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services” for $595.00;
- Copy of both sides of the spouse’s Permanent Resident Card (I-551 or “greencard”), or a copy of the spouse’s immigrant visa;
- Two recent color, full-frontal, passport-style photographs on a white background;
- Two completed fingerprint cards (FD-258), fingerprints taken by any law enforcement official;
- Copy of spouse’s birth certificate (with certified English translation if applicable);
- Copy of marriage certificate between spouse and USC’s (with certified English translation if applicable);
- Copy of the USC’s U.S. birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship;
- Proof of termination of any prior marriages (divorce or death certificates) for both the USC and spouse (with certified English translation, if applicable);
- Completed, signed and dated Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative (G-28), if applicable;
- A letter addressed to USCIS requesting interview locations and dates;
- An official letter on letterhead from the U.S. Government agency, public international organization, a firm incorporated in the U.S. (or foreign subsidiary), or religious organization stating the following:
- The name, title, address, contact information and signature of the author;
- Affirmation and explanation that the USC’s employer is an agency of the U.S. Government, an American firm or corporation engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the U.S. or a subsidiary thereof (an American firm is defined as being at least 51% owned by U.S. citizens), or a religious organization organized as a non-profit entity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
- The nature of the employing entity’s business, activities, missions, or charitable works;
- The state under which the employer is organized, the date of incorporation, and that it is extant;
- The facts of the USC’s basis of hire (contract, regular employee, etc.) and employment (job title, detailed job description, date overseas assignment started, date overseas assignment expected to end).
- If the USC is employed by an “American firm or corporation,” evidence that the firm is at least 51% owned by U.S. citizens, i.e. annual reports, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, articles of incorporation, stock traded exclusively on U.S. stock exchange markets, stock ownership of subsidiaries, or other comparable evidence.
- Evidence of the USC’s actual employment abroad (paycheck stubs, airline tickets, employment contracts, lodgings, etc.).
Armed Forces Spouses
In addition to the supporting documents listed above, the following documentation are required:
- Certificate of Overseas Assignments to Support Application to File Petition for Naturalization (DD 1278), to show authorized military dependent(s)’ concurrent travel. The DD1278 must be issued no earlier than 90 days prior to the scheduled date of travel overseas; and a Date Estimated Return from Overseas (DEROS) letter from the USC’s command.
- If a DD1278 showing concurrent travel and residence cannot be submitted, then submit:
- A copy of the USC’s travel orders showing length of tour of duty overseas; or
- A letter from the USC’s Commanding Officer stating the duration of the overseas assignment and verification that the spouse has permission to reside abroad with the USC after naturalization; and
- Evidence of transportation arrangements to the new duty station.
Conditional Permanent Residents
- A conditional permanent resident is also eligible for 319(b) if all of the above requirements are met. The spouse may be asked to provide evidence of marriage bona fides at the naturalization interview. Such evidence includes, but is not limited to:
- Photos of spouse and USC together with family, friends, on vacation, marriage ceremony, etc;
- Proof of joint property ownership, real or intangible;
- Birth certificates of children born of the spouse and USC;
- Evidence of joint debt, i.e. utility bills, electricity, bills, credit card statements;
- Evidence of joint equity, i.e. bank accounts, insurance policies, stocks;
- Will or other legal documents.
USCIS will send to the spouse a Notice to Appear for the interview after processing the 319(b) application. It is virtually impossible to reschedule the interview and the spouse should be prepared to travel on short notice to the U.S. for the interview, and present evidence of the requirements and supporting evidence noted above at that time. Although the USC may accompany the spouse to the interview it is unnecessary and the USC cannot assist the spouse during the interview.
If the interview is successful, the oath ceremony, at which time the spouse is naturalized, will follow. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, the applicant receives a Certificate of Naturalization (N-570) to prove that s/he is now a U.S. citizen. Cameras are allowed and guests are welcome to the oath ceremony.
Fees and Fingerprints
The current fee for N-400 processing is $675.00 if the spouse applies in the U.S., or $595.00 if the spouse applies from abroad with fingerprint cards. If applying from the U.S., the spouse will receive an official notice to go to a USCIS facility to have fingerprints taken after applying. A spouse cannot be fingerprinted in the U.S. without presenting this official notice. If applying from outside the U.S., the spouse must submit two completed FD-258 fingerprint cards which have been completed by either a U.S. government or local law enforcement facility that is able to take fingerprints. Consular sections cannot do so.
Please go to USCIS website for further information. In addition, A Guide to Naturalization (M-476 – PDF 1MB) provides information on the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship, an overview of the naturalization process, and eligibility requirements.
Average processing time is 4 – 6 months, but may take longer. Although the spouse may request a certain month or date for the interview, this is guaranteed. Applicants already serving overseas may request an interview date to coincide with scheduled R&R travel, but 319(b) is generally scheduled in accordance with USCIS’, not the applicant’s, schedule.
Upon issuance of a N-570 the spouse is eligible to apply for a U.S. passport. An N-570 is not a travel document and is invalid for entry into the U.S. and other countries. U.S. passports are issued by the U.S. Department of State. Normal passport processing is 6 weeks. However, the spouse can request expedited processing which usually takes 2 weeks and also requires an additional fee. For specific information on how and where to file, please visit Passport Information at Travel.state.gov.
This hand-out is not all-inclusive and is meant to provide general guidance, not individual legal advice, and offers no assurance that any applicant is qualified for any benefit.