DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is NOT to be construed as legal advice, and is only provided to help our clients/customers better understand the nature of our services and consultations. Legal decisions should NOT be made without consulting an Attorney.
The primary reference point for immigration questions is www.uscis.gov ; for servicemembers inquiring about their own naturalization process, IPAC is the appropriate POC for processing.
The issue most often advised by the Legal Assistance Office relates to the I-130 application process for a new Japanese spouse. The information below contains basic information for the servicemember pertaining to this process, but all of the required paperwork and instruction booklets can be found at www.uscis.gov . The Legal Assistance Office will direct you here first.
Military Help-Line: 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645)---this line is dedicated to military personnel and their families. Call the help line to:
- track N-400, application for Naturalization
- notify USCIS of a new mailing address or duty station
- check the status of any application
- bringing a spouse, fiance, or adopted child to the United States
- obtaining posthumous citizenship for a deceased servicemember
- submitting an application for expedited processing
I-130 Visa Applications for Alien Relative:
Eligibility: although the text below will refer to an immigrant spouse, if you are a U.S. citizen, you can
file the I-130 for the following alien relatives:
- unmarried child under age 21 (includes step-children if married natural parent prior to 16th birthday);
- unmarried son or daughter age 21 or older;
- your unmarried son or daughter of any age;
- your brothers or sisters (if you are age 21 or older); or
- your mother or father (if you are age 21 or older).
Processing: expect I-130 applications to take approximately 6-8 months for approval so plan accordingly.
As a result, you should prepare for the potential that you and your new spouse may be
separated for several months before she can enter the United States on with a permanent resident visa.
Warning: do not attempt to circumvent the process by having your spouse enter the United States on a
tourist visa while the I-130 application is in process; this is a fraudulent entry into the United
States if your spouse intends at the time of entry to stay beyond the 90 day tourist visa. Further,
this action will likely result in the application being denied, leading to even greater periods of
I-130 Immigrant Visa Process (all noted fees may have changed- see USCIS website for current info.):
Step 1. Submit I-130 Immigrant Visa Petition to USCIS via mail with the fee of $420.00.
Step 2. Receive Notice of Action from USCIS upon approval of the petition. The documents will then be
transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC).
Step 3. Receive the notice from the NVC. Prepare the necessary documents and send them to NVC via
mail. Part of this process will include a medical exam ($250.00) and the Visa application fee
($150.00). You will have about a 2-3 week time period to turn the documents around to NVC.
Step 4. Receive the notice from NVC for the final interview date, which will be conducted at the U.S.
Consulate General Naha.
Step 5. Final interview/visa application at the Consulate.
Step 6. Immigrant visa will be issued upon the approval of the visa application.
Step 7. Enter the U.S. before the visa expiration date (within 12 months). Hand in the issued visa packet
to an Immigration Officer at the port of entry. At this point, your spouse is admitted as a
permanent resident. If you are not going to return to the United States before the expiration date,
notify the Consulate immediately because they can assist with an extension. It is better to be
proactive and have it done early because the visa can be extended.
Step 8. Receive a Green Card sent to your U.S. address via mail a few months later. An immigrant
spouse will first receive a Conditional Permanent Resident Visa, which will be valid for two years
at which point additional interviews and paperwork will be filed. After that, the immigrant
spouse will be issued the Permanent Resident Visa, which will need to be renewed after ten years
but at this point the spouse can do so independently of the citizen spouse.