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Challenges immigrant military families face

Many people immigrate to the United States to escape the challenges of life back home, but for you, they had just begun. For the better part of three months, you faced the tests of military boot camp to earn your citizenship or green card. At the end of your training, you stood on a parade ground at the position of attention, raised your right hand and swore to uphold the principles of a country that you had just begun to know.

The pride you felt that day extended to your family members abroad, even if they weren't there to see it themselves. Now that you have found your place in the country, you want to extend the same opportunity to your loved ones back home. Service members who want to sponsor immediate family members such as parents, spouses and unmarried children may do so under the law.

The naturalization process is the same as non-military families

Military family members usually have to go through the same naturalization process as family members of non-military. Sponsoring a loved one is possible by filing an affidavit of support, in which you accept financial responsibility for someone coming to the U.S. permanently. The first priority of support is given to unmarried adult children who are age 21 or older.

The most common problem family members face is if they are subject to an "inadmissibility" marker and are ineligible to enter the United States due to a previous visa or unlawful entry. A local immigration attorney can help you with the necessary paperwork and work through any special circumstances that your family may face.

What if I am at an international duty station or deployed during the process?

Being stationed, mobilized or deployed outside of the United States is a common occurrence for military service members. What does this mean for the immigration status of your loved ones? The sponsorship and naturalization process will continue for your family members, even if you are stationed overseas. This benefit is exclusive to the military.

The circumstances are rare, but if you are killed in action while serving with the military, your family members may be eligible for expedited citizenship into the United States so that they can have access to life insurance and other benefits that are passed on to next of kin.

Military families face unique challenges, and for families immigrating to the United States, the hurdles can double. With the right knowledge, you and your family members can be more resilient through the process.

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