Legal Memorandum: Exceptions to the Green Card Requirement

Issue: Are there any exceptions to the green card requirement (lawful permanent resident status) for battered spouses seeking to naturalize?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State), Immigration & Naturalization Law
Keywords: Exceptions to the green card requirement; Battered spouses; Applying for naturalization
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: INA § 316(a), 316(a)(1), 319(a), 319(d), 212, 240A, 329A; 8 U.S.C. § 1430(a), 1430(d), 1182, 1229b, 1427(a)(1); 8 USCS § 1427(a)(1), 1440-1; 8 C.F.R. § 319.1(a)(1), 319.3, 319.1
Date: 06/01/2015

INA § 319(a) (8 U.S.C. § 1430(a)) provides:

Any person whose spouse is a citizen of the United States, or any person who obtained status as a lawful permanent resident by reason of his or her status as a spouse or child of a United States citizen who battered him or her or subjected him or her to extreme cruelty, may be naturalized upon compliance with all the requirements of this title except the provisions of paragraph (1) of section 316(a) [8 USCS § 1427(a)(1)]*FN1 if such person immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the United States for at least three years, and during the three years immediately preceding the date of filing his application has been living in marital union with the citizen spouse (except in the case of a person who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a United States citizen spouse or parent), who has been a United States citizen during all of such period, and has been physically present in the United States for periods totaling at least half of that time and has resided within the State or the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed his application for at least three months.

(emphasis added).  Immigration rules also require lawful permanent residence prior to applying for naturalization.  “To be eligible for naturalization under section 319(a) […]

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