Applying For Citizenship As A Military Member
There are special forms that active-duty military members with green cards file to become a citizen. Serving in the military typically makes the citizenship process faster.
As you can see, the process to get a green card and become a U.S citizen is not easy and may require professional assistance.
One of the reasons I would recommend joining with a green card is that many military installations have a designated U.S. Customs and Immigration Services liaison to help with the naturalization application process.
I have a few foreign-born friends who wanted to be Americans and serve in our military. Watching them go through this process and see it culminate in a naturalization ceremony was one of the most special moments I have witnessed in my life.
The American dream is real for those who go after it. Good luck with your journey. I hope it works out for you as it did some of the finest Americans I know.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store
Foreigners Can Join The Us Military If They Have A Green Card
You can serve if you have a green card!
Are you a non-U.S. citizen who is interested in joining a branch of the U.S. military? We receive thousands of inquiries each year from eager foreigners wanting to enlist. While your enthusiasm to join and become a part of the Armed Forces is commendable, U.S. law requires more. The key point is that you will need to have your green card to join. There are no exceptions. USA Green Card offers a registration process for your opportunity to get your own green card, which will then allow you to pursue your military service goals.
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Us Citizenship For Military Members
Members of the U.S. armed forces may be eligible for U.S. citizenship by qualifying for naturalization through military service under Section 328 or 329 of the INA.
The U.S. armed forces means the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and the Marines. Each military branch has different requirements for enlistment, but here are some standard requirements.
U.S. citizens and certain non-U.S. citizens can join the U.S. military.
Allan Scott Lolly
U.S. citizens for military purposes include citizens of Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Non-citizens are eligible to enlist in the military but cannot be commissioned. A non-citizen must
The military cannot help an illegal immigrant join the military. In order for an immigrant to join the U.S. military, you must already have a green card or valid visa and then begin the enlisting process. Only green card holder may qualify to become U.S. citizens by joining the military, so joining the military is a good way for a green card holder to become a U.S. citizen more quickly than it would normally take.
Who Qualifies To Join The Military As A Permanent Resident
While legal non-citizens are allowed to enlist in the military, this option is not available to all. For instance, residents of countries that are hostile to U.S. interests may have a difficult time doing so, and they need a waiver. There is a list of countries that are considered hostile to the U.S. and they include China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran, but there are more countries on that list and you should do your research to find out whether your country is included. Just because youre a Green Card holder, it doesnt automatically entitle you to join the U.S. armed forces you still need to fulfill the below requirements:
- You must be living in the U.S.
- You must be proficient in English, which means that you must be able to read, write, and speak English fluently)
- You must be at least 17 years of age and no older than 35
- You must be in good health*
- You must have a high school diploma
- You must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
- If you plan to become an officer, you must hold a college degree.
- You must have a clear criminal record*
*if your disqualification based on health or criminal record is minor, you may ask the Army to waive it, but there is no guarantee that youll be granted a waiver. A waiver request comes at no additional cost.
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Refinements And Interpretations 1966 To 2001
Until 1972, the Nationality Laws of the United States required that children born abroad to U.S. nationals complete a five-year residency by establishing a continuous domicile in the territory prior to their twenty-third birthday. Failure to establish a residence nullified U.S. nationality and citizenship. In 1982, Congress enacted provisions for children born between 1950 and 1982 to facilitate immigration for children of U.S. national fathers. Intended to assist children born in areas where the U.S. had been militarily active, it applied to children born in Kampuchea, Korea, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The special provisions did not give children nationality, but loosened the requirements for legitimization and financial support for children born abroad, removed scrutiny of the fatherâs marital status, requiring only that the Attorney General establish that a presumed father was a citizen and that a sponsor agreed to take legal custody and support a child under the age of eighteen. In 1987, the Amerasian Homecoming Act facilitated resettlement of immigrant Vietnamese mothers and their children born between 1962 and 1972 to U.S. military personnel.
Before Serving In The Army National Guard
To enlist in the Army National Guard, you must be between 18 and 39 years old, or 17 with parental consent. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien. A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may also be accepted. You must also pass the ASVAB test and a physical fitness exam. All National Guard members must complete 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, the same boot camp attended by full-time Army Soldiers.
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Do Us Military Family Members Ever Face Complications In Trying To Obtain A Green Card
Some Military family members are unable to adjust status because they have entered the United States unlawfully. Current law requires them to leave the U.S. to seek an immigrant visa, but once they leave, they may find themselves banned from returning for up to ten years. Waivers of ten year bans are difficult to obtain and immigration authorities often deny them to military family members. Luckily new policies such as parole in place, which we discussed in our previous blog, are easing these strains on military families.If you a member of the U.S. military and you wish to obtain a green card for a family member, we hope you will consider our law firm to assist you. Contact us for a consultation with an attorney today.
What Will Be Required Join
When you are ready to join, you will be required to prove that you have a green card . You will also be required to demonstrate that you have at least a high school diploma or a GED . In addition, you will need to take an exam known as the ASVAB that helps determine the U.S. military force and the type of job in that force for which you would be best suited. A physical exam will also be conducted to make sure you are physically fit enough to serve.
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What Happens If An Undocumented Person Enlists
My clients sometimes tell me that theyve heard of undocumented immigrants who were allowed to enlist in a branch of the armed services. This is not allowed by U.S. law, so if it happens, it was a mistake by the recruiter. Once it is determined that the person is undocumented, he will be discharged from the military.
What Counts As Service In The Us Military
The U.S. military has six branches of service: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force.
Military members from any of these branches can take steps towards citizenship.
If you served in a National Guard unit, you might also be eligible to get citizenship. Your citizenship claim would depend on whether your unit was federally recognized as a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces while you were serving.
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Learn What Special Immigration Rights Are Extended To The Families Of Those Serving In The Us Military
By Ilona Bray, J.D.
If you are a native of another country, and are the close relative of someone who is serving in the U.S. military, you may be interested to know your rights under U.S. immigration laws. By military service we mean active or reserve duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard, or in a National Guard unit while the unit was federally recognized as a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces.
You might also be interested in reading U.S. Citizenship Rights for U.S. Military Personnel and Veterans to find out what rights your serviceperson relative is in line for. If, for example, serving in the military qualifies your family member for immediate or expedited U.S. citizenship, that person may then be able to sponsor you to receive a U.S. green card .
Adjusting Status For Spouses For Service Members
Generally, spouses need to have lawful permanent resident status before naturalizing. To apply for adjustment of status the spouse must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and the service member must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, including the biometrics fee.
If the spouse of a service member receives an adjustment of status interview appointment notice while the service member is deployed, the USCIS office will still conduct the interview. The spouse should bring evidence of the service members assignment along with any other requested evidence listed on the appointment notice.
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Can An Immigrant Join The Army
Military service is voluntary for both citizens and documented immigrants. Each branch of the military has its own set of recruitment criteria, however, there are several that apply to all branches.
One of these requirements is that only U.S. citizens can become commissioned officers or serve in occupations in the US military that require special security clearances.
Note: Non-citizens with proper documentation may enroll in the military. Once they have gained citizenship, they can also become commissioned officers.
Citizens of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Marshall Islands are all eligible to join the military .
To be eligible to join the military, a non-citizen must complete specified qualifications. They must have an I-551 green card or a valid foreign passport with the words processed for I-551 printed on it.
To join the US military, an immigrant must first complete the USCIS immigration process before beginning the enlisting process.
The individual wishing to join the military must have a valid green card and/or visa for the duration of their enrollment.
A USCIS representative is present in most military facilities to explain and assist with the administrative process of applying for citizenship.
Single Term Enlistments
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An Applicant For Naturalization Based On Military Service Must Meet The Following Requirements:
To apply under this eligibility category, you must be 18 years of age or older.
You may only use this eligibility category if you have an honorable service record or have been honorably discharged. You must have served for at least one year in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard.
If you have separated from the U.S. Armed Forces, N-400, Application for Naturalization, must be filed within 6 months of the honorable discharge.
If you were discharged for other than honorable reasons, you are not excluded from naturalization. You likely would not meet the citizenship requirements for military. Instead, you would need to prepare N-400, Application for Naturalization, as a 5-year permanent resident or as a permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen for 3 years.
Most non-citizens that apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization must be permanent residents before filing N-400, Application for Naturalization. However, members of the military must only be permanent residents by the day of the interview.
What’s more, the continuous residence and physical presence requirements are waived. Most applicants must be permanent residents for 5 years before submitting Form N-400. Military applicants can file right away.
USCIS also provides accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Learn more on the USCIS Exceptions & Accommodations page.
The Us Military Helps Naturalize Non
As a country founded by immigrants hundreds of years ago, many individuals still flock to the U.S. today seeking political freedom and the opportunity to achieve their goals. America remains a land of opportunities, and because many foreigners from all over the world come to live in the U.S., cultural diversity is cited as one of the country’s strengths.
The same applies to the U.S military today. Since the Revolutionary War, legal permanent residents are eligible to enlist in the military. Roughly 35,000 non-citizens are serving in active-duty military, and about 8,000 join each year.
Non-citizen service members offer several benefits to the military. They are more diverse linguistically and culturally than citizen recruits, which was particularly valuable as the U.S faced the challenges of the Global War on Terrorism.
Also, according to military research, once non-citizens have joined the military, they are far more likely to complete their enlistment obligations successfully than their U.S.-born counterparts. Thirty-six-month attrition rates for non-citizens are between nine and 20 percentage points lower than those for white citizens, the largest demographic group in the military.
Just as non-citizen service members offer benefits to the military, the military service provides opportunities for recruits, particularly in the path to citizenship.
Other restrictions non-citizens encounter until they obtain their U.S citizenship include:
- Reenlistment: unable to reenlist
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Six Steps To Us Naturalization And Citizenship Through Military Service
As of 2017, Department of Defense policy changes to how foreign-born service members may apply for U.S. citizenship while serving may impact the time it takes for you to apply for citizenship.
Here is a step-by-step guide for how the naturalization process typically works for foreign-born service members. Many military installations have a designated U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services liaison to help you with the Form N-400 application process. Make sure you ask your commanding officer and local installation for the latest information on naturalization policies for active-duty service members.
Get Your Green Card To Join The Us Military
If you are one of the few and determined individuals who is willing to sacrifice your time to a communal goal that is larger than yourself, and who is willing to devote your efforts to the advancement of the United States, take the necessary first step: get your green card. Without it, you will not be able to pursue a future in the U.S. Military. Register to get your green card through USA Green Card today!
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