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Clarifying The USCIS’s Marital Union Policy Update

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Last October, USCIS updated Volume 12 of the policy manual to clarify the requirements under section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

In a press release USCIS identified two highlights of the update:

  • It clarifies that the applicant spouse and his or her U.S. citizen spouse must have been living in marital union for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing for naturalization.
  • It 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).

Another important policy update concerns requirements for the I-130 petitioning spouse (who is either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident) and the I-864, Affidavit of Support. While there is no age requirement for the U.S.citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse filing the I-130 immigrant visa petition for his/her foreign national spouse, there is a requirement for filing the required I-864: the applicant must be at least 18 years of age.

This can complicate the immigration process for the foreign national spouse, even when the marriage was valid when it took place. Those petitioning for their spouse should re-consult current laws, policies and procedures to ensure that they will meet all legal requirements to be able to complete the immigration process.