Immigration Marriage and the U.S. Military

Members of the US Armed Forces are often stationed overseas and travel the world extensively as part of their job. Since they meet people from all over the world, it is not a surprise that many US Armed Forces personnel eventually meet and decide to marry foreign nationals. Because of the sacrifices and the bravery of US Armed Forces personnel, US immigration authorities do make certain exceptions for US military personnel and for their spouses applying for immigration petitions. Since US Armed Forces personnel travel frequently and have other special needs, the USCIS and the US government make special provisions.

For example, in the usual case where a non-US Armed Forces member wishes to marry a foreign national, the couple must first apply for a US visa application in order to allow the foreign fiancé to enter the US for marriage. This can take a long time as an application filing date for the visa needs to be established. US Armed Forces personnel are exempted from the need to establish this filing date. In many cases, they also do not need to pay the processing fees that other couples need to pay. Finally, since US Armed Forces personnel travel widely and are often deployed outside of the US, the rules for residency requirements for both the foreign fiancé and the US Armed Forces individual are relaxed. In fact, the couple can file their visa application in the United States, at military bases outside of the United States, and at US consulates around the world. In some cases, US Armed Forces personnel and their foreign fiancé’s complete the entire visa application and naturalization process for the foreign-born fiancé while the couple are outside of the US.

Since the job of US military personnel is also dangerous, foreign born spouses and fiancé’s of US Armed Forces personnel are usually eligible for military marriage benefits, including death benefits, housing benefits, and other benefits. This means that when a member of the US Armed Forces decides to marry on foreign-born fiancé, that individual is eligible for naturalization as well as US military benefits after the marriage. Any dependents of the couple are also eligible for these benefits.