Separate and generally relaxed requirements for naturalization apply to several special classes of persons. Though not a complete listing, the following is a brief discussion of some of the provisions applying to four of these special classes.

Adopted Children of U.S. Citizens

A child born abroad, who meets the special definition of and adopted child set forth in the Immigration & Nationality Act, and who is adopted by a U.S. parent before the child reaches age 16 will qualify for U.S. citizenship, upon meeting other legal requirements. For example, if the citizen parent has not been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14, then a citizen parent of the citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States for at least five years, two of which were after the age of 14.

Spouses of Citizens Regularly Employed Abroad

Foreign persons married to American citizens who are living abroad in connection with their employment are often unable to comply with the U.S. residence requirements for naturalization. Due to the desirability of enabling these persons to join their spouses abroad, these persons are eligible for naturalization without regard to the duration of their marriage, permanent resident status, or periods of physical presence in the United States.

These provisions apply to persons whose U.S. spouse is regularly stationed abroad in connection with employment by a U.S. owned company engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States, the U.S. government, a U.S. owned research organization, a U.S. religious denomination, or a public international organization of which the U.S. is a member.

Persons Performing Military Service

The naturalization laws provide special benefits for noncitizens who have performed specified service in the U.S. armed forces. Naturalization benefits are extended to noncitizens with 3 years of honorable military service performed during times of peace or of active hostilities. The naturalization application must be filed while the petitioner is still in the service or within six months after the termination of such service. Even more generous naturalization benefits are extended to persons with active military service during specified periods of hostility, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and the post 9/11 period of conflict.