Last week, the U.S. Senate passed via a voice vote H.R. 398, a bill sponsored by House Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). H.R. 398 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ease rules under which aliens who marry members of the U.S. military may become legal permanent residents.
Under current law, when a citizen marries a foreign national, the alien spouse is granted lawful permanent residence (LPR) on a conditional basis for the first two years. (INA § 216(a)(1)) The government removes this conditional status only after it determines that the marriage is legitimate—a process that includes an interview during the 90-day period leading up to the two-year anniversary of obtaining (conditional) LPR status. (INA § 216(c)). H.R. 398 suspends the 90-day period in which the citizen and spouse must complete the interview to remove the alien’s conditional status if the citizen (or the alien spouse) is a member of the U.S. military serving abroad. (H.R. 398 at § 1(a))
The House passed H.R. 398 nearly unanimously on August 1. (See Voting Record) President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.