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U.S. Navy Outlines Impacts and Mitigations Following International Immigration Office Closures Announcement

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WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy outlined citizen support services will continue even as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) closes overseas field offices in NAVADMIN 290/19, Dec. 12.  

The general guidance is to plan ahead, work with respective Navy Regional Legal Service Offices (RLSOs), and follow procedures outlined by USCIS. Commanding officers are also instructed to provide maximum flexibility for affected service members to get the services needed, should they have to travel to complete required paperwork.

Specific recommendations were directed at Sailors and their families who may be impacted by the closures to plan ahead prior to conducting a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

To support service members, USCIS will conduct four quarterly visits at overseas military installations: Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Japan; U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany; and Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, USCIS officials said in a news release and in a background call with defense reporters.

Once the USCIS offices have closed, members who have gained foreign national dependents (though marriage, adoption, etc.) will need to submit immigration applications to the Department of State before their tour ends for their dependents to enter the U.S. as immigrants.

Sailors stationed overseas who receive orders for an assignment back to the U.S. will not be able to initiate a PCS with dependents unless they have obtained approval for their dependents to enter as immigrants. This process is initiated by filling out a Petition for Alien Relative form (I-130). This form is used if you are a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. who needs to establish a relationship to certain foreign national relatives who wish to immigrate to the U.S.

When a member enrolls eligible dependents in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS), or updates their Record of Emergency Data/Dependent Application Form (RED/DA), the command should also ensure the member contacts their nearby RLSO and begin the I0130 application process for a non-U.S. citizen dependent. RLSO Command Citizenship Representatives provide legal advice to Sailors and their families regarding immigration and naturalization issues, including any problems that may arise as a result of these closures

Commands are directed by NAVADMIN 290/19 to ensure Sailors assigned overseas with foreign national dependents initiate any immigration paperwork early rather than waiting for PCS orders. Those who are serving in Asia and Europe, in particular, should contact their local RLSO immediately to initiate I-130s. Service members who are not yet naturalized must begin the naturalization process by contacting a U.S.-based USCIS office before embarking on an overseas assignment.  

Sailors with overseas orders or pending deployment can expedite the naturalization process by including a cover page with their application stating, “I am deploying overseas.” If the applicant has already submitted an application and needs to notify USCIS of an upcoming deployment, they should contact the USCIS Military Help Line at 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645) as soon as possible.

For more information contact your local RLSO or read the message at MyNavy Portal (https://my.navy.mil) and click on the NAVADMINS tile.

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