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Spouses of deceased U.S. citizen military members and citizenship

It is a sad reality that some of the brave members of the U.S. armed forces end up losing their lives during their military service. The time following such a loss can be very hard on a deceased military member's family, such as their spouse. When the deceased’s spouse is from another country, the spouse may have additional worries/concerns on top of those normally associated with losing a loved one. Among these are worries about their U.S. immigration situation.

One thing it can be important for non-U.S.-citizen spouses of U.S. citizen military members who died in connection to their military service to know is that they might have access to special immigration benefits. Immigration attorneys can explain to such spouses what benefits they might qualify for and assist them with the process of pursuing such benefits.

One of the benefits that can be available to such spouses is that being the spouse of a U.S. citizen military member who died while on active duty could qualify them for U.S. citizenship.

As a note, to have access to this route to U.S. citizenship, a spouse has to have not been legally separated from the U.S. citizen military member when they died.

Does remarrying after their partner’s death impact a spouse’s eligibility for this route to citizenship? It does not. A qualifying spouse can still pursue this citizenship route after remarrying.

Now, spouses that qualify for this citizenship route are exempt from some of the normal eligibility requirements for citizenship. While they have to meet most of these requirements, there are two key ones they don’t have to. Specifically, they are exempt from the physical presence and residence requirements.

Spouses of deceased U.S. military members who have questions on this citizenship route and whether they would qualify for it may want to go to a skilled immigration lawyer with their questions.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Survivor Benefits for Relatives of U.S. Citizen Military Members,” Accessed Dec. 20, 2016

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