United States grants citizenship to first military spouse overseas

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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that Zita Chouchan has become the first U.S. military spouse to be naturalized overseas.

Her eligibility to become a U.S. citizen while still overseas was possible due to President George W. Bush signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 into law. The new law included amending portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow certain spouses of U.S. military personnel to apply for and obtain citizenship while overseas.

In general, a person must have status as a permanent resident in the U.S. and have lived there for five years before being eligible for citizenship. In some cases, such as spouses of U.S. citizens, the period is as little as three years.

Members of the U.S. military who are U.S. permanent residents can also apply for expedited citizenship after serving for one year during peace time or immediately during times of hostility.

Mrs. Chouchan became a United States citizen along with 20 soldiers stationed throughout Germany and Kosovo.