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USCIS Updates Policy Regarding ‘Living in Marital Union’ for Naturalization Applications

On Friday, October 12, 2018, USCIS issued an alert that it will be updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the married and living in marital union requirements under section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 
In general, all naturalization applicants filing on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen must continue to be married from the time of filing the application until the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance. In addition, statutory provisions require the applicant spouse to have been married and “living in marital union” (living together) with his or her U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years immediately before he or she filed the naturalization application. 
While the law requires the applicant spouse and the U.S. citizen spouse remain married until the time the applicant naturalizes, the new policy memo states that the living in marital union requirement is only required until the time of filing the application. The new guidance supersedes any prior guidance. 
The highlights of the policy are as follows:

  • The policy clarifies that the applicant spouse and his or her U.S. citizen spouse must have been living in marital union for at least three years immediately preceding the date of filing for naturalization; and 
  • The policy reaffirms that termination of the marriage at any time before the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance for naturalization makes the applicant ineligible under INA 319(a). 

Stakeholders may review and comment on the revised policy guidance through October 25, 2018.
If you are interested in applying for naturalization or have questions on this new policy, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!