What Counts As Service In The Us Military
Military members can take steps toward citizenship by serving in either 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.
Peacetime Naturalization: Serve One Year in the Military
During peacetime, foreign nationals who serve at least one year in the U.S. military must get a green card before they qualify for U.S. citizenshipbut they do enjoy one important advantage. Instead of waiting until they’ve held their green card for five years before applying for citizenship, they can apply one year after receiving the green card.
Some other conditions apply. The applicants’ service must have been considered honorable. They must, like everyone applying for citizenship, be at least 18 years or older, of good moral character, be able to show knowledge about American history and government and the English language , and demonstrate an attachment to the U.S. Constitution.
Unlike other applicants, you won’t have to pay the N-400 application fee. But you will have to complete and file USCIS Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service. This will require input and a signature from a U.S. military official.
How To Prepare My Citizenship Packet
Make sure to always use the most up-to-date USCIS forms. You may receive your application packet through your branchs citizenship representative, request it from the USCIS, or use SimpleCitizens online Citizenship Software.
Please be advised that your application officer during the interview may ask you questions regarding information on your forms. Always stay consistent and be as clear and detailed as possible with the information you provide.
Once you have gathered all the required documents, translations, and passport photos for the N-400 bring everything to your branchs designated point of contact for naturalization. Your representative will verify your application and complete the Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service form. Your branch representative or commander has the authority to indicate your characterization of service, and deem whether or not your service was honorable if you were being discharged.
Your representative will then mail your application packet to USCIS.
Submit Your Application 3aptitude Test
You will take an aptitude test to determine which military occupations are the best fit for you. Preparation is key so make sure you are well rested, healthy, on time, and careful with your answers. You will be tested on verbal skills, spatial ability and problem solving. It will take approximately 60 minutes to complete a series of three Canadian Forces aptitude tests. The following practice aptitude test will provide you with an example of the style and structure of what you will experience when you write the real test at a Recruitment Centre near you.
You will also complete a personality inventory which provides information on your personal characteristics and qualities. To learn more about your personality and how it can influence job choices, check out this personality assessment.
Don’t Miss: Does Hulu Offer Military Discount
Can Daca Youth Enlist
Currently, no. In 2012, the Obama administration launched a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that gives limited immigration benefits to individuals who entered the U.S. as children.
Although individuals in the DACA program are authorized to work, they cannot join the military. There may be exceptions under the MAVNI program in the future, but not currently. Hopefully Congress, which has now been assigned the task of determining the future of the DACA program, will create more wiggle room for those interested in enlisting.
Other Requirements For Permanent Residents Joining The Armed Forces
You must always make sure that your card is valid, and if its expired , lost, or damaged, you have to apply for a new one before you enlist. Once you apply to renew your Green Card you have to wait to get your original receipt from the USCIS that will work as proof that youve covered the fees for Form I-90 . Your Green Card must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your enlistment date. You cannot join the U.S. military from overseas you must immigrate to the United States first. Once your immigration process is finalized, you can apply to join the U.S. armed forces.
You May Like: Can You Use Usaa If Not In The Military
Learn More About Immigration Cases
Are You Eligible To Join The Marines
The Marine Corps official site provides fewer details about its entrance requirements but in general for both officer and enlisted you must pass a criminal background check, have no felony convictions, and pass an initial strength test that includes crunches, pushups or pullups, and a run.
Enlisted members must meet the following requirements:
- Be a legal U.S. resident
- Have a high school diploma
- Be between 17 and 28 years old
- Score at least 31 on the ASVAB
- Be a legal U.S. resident
- Be between 20 and 28 years old
- Have both a high school diploma and a Bachelors degree
- Score at least 31 on the ASVAB
The Marine Corps recruiting official site does not mention the GED in sections listing their requirements, but under the ASVAB section of the official site, the following information is current at press time:
To pass , aspiring Marines must achieve a score of 31 or higher, and those with nontraditional degrees or a GED must score at least a 50. Discuss your high school diploma issues with a Marine Corps recruiters to learn what current GED policy might be at application time.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Usaa Without Military
Height And Weight Standards
The Air Force does not offer a weight reduction program. Currently, all applicants must meet a weight requirement based on their height. Please refer to the table below.
For pilot and aircrew positions, height specifications vary by aircraft, and most applicants can successfully pursue a career in aviation with the U.S. Air Force. Applicants who are significantly taller or shorter than average may require special screening to ensure they can safely perform operational duties. Applicants of all heights are encouraged to apply.
Tattoos Brands And Piercings
Airmen are subject to strict requirements and restrictions pertaining to body modifications. If you plan to get a tattoo or other body modifications, carefully consider placement, size and content before you proceed.
Tattoos, brands or piercings anywhere on the body that are prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature that may bring discredit upon the Air Force, are prohibited both in and out of uniform. This includes modifications that are obscene or advocate sexual, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination. Even if rectified, excessive scarring resulting from tattoo removal may also be disqualifying.
Tattoos are not completely disqualifying, however. There are no size or area limitations for authorized tattoos on the chest , back, arms, and legs. Tattoos, brands, and body markings are prohibited on the head, neck, face, tongue, lips, and scalp. Hand tattoos are limited to one single-band ring tattoo, on one finger, on one hand.
Recommended Reading: Can I Join The Military At 48 Years Old
How Citizenpath Helps You Apply For Naturalization
CitizenPath’s self-directed service makes preparing USCIS forms easy. Designed by lawyers, our platform will help you eliminate the common errors that create delays, rejections and even denials. The low-cost service also provides alerts if you answer a question in a way that might be a problem. We’ll make sureyou meet all the citizenship requirements for military personnel before applying. Most people can prepare the naturalization package within a couple of hours.
The online service is a powerful, do-it-yourself tool that puts you in control. And we’ve got your back — CitizenPath provides live customer support and guarantees that USCIS will approve your application.
Naturalization Based On Military Service During Wartime
If you enlist in the U.S. armed forces during wartime, you can apply for U.S. citizenship after as early as your first day of service. Various periods of wartime count, including the time that began September 11, 2001 and will end whenever the U.S. President announces a cease to the hostilities.
Applicants under this section of the law must meet most of the same requirements as any other applicant for naturalization. These include being able to read, write, and speak English, having good moral character, being able to pass a test on American history and government, and swearing an attachment to the U.S. Constitution. However, you will not be held to the usual requirements regarding age and length of time as a permanent resident living in the United States.
You can apply for citizenship under this section while you are overseas.
Read Also: Is Being A Navy Seal Worth It
Military Spouses’ Right To Count Overseas Posting Time Toward Us Residency Requirements
If you are married to a U.S. citizen who is serving in the military and is stationed abroad, and you have a green card, and you accompanied your spouse on this overseas posting under official military orders, you can count your time living with your spouse overseas as if it were time spent in the United States. This will be important for fulfilling the various U.S. residency requirements for citizenship.
Also, you won’t need to return to the U.S. to apply for citizenship if you don’t want to. Instead, you can complete the naturalization process abroad.
Advantages Of Applying For Citizenship Through Military Service
There are three main advantages for foreign-born service members who apply for U.S. citizenship:
- Shorter residency requirements. Typically, applicants must reside within the United States as a lawful permanent resident for five continuous years, or three years if theyre married to a U.S. citizen, before they can apply to become a U.S. citizen. At most, eligible foreign-born service members only need one year of honorable service before they can file their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- No state-of-residence requirement. Civilian applicants must live in the state or service district where they file their Form N-400 for a minimum of three months. Eligible foreign-born service members do not need to meet this requirement.
- Waived application fees. Between the naturalization application and fingerprinting fees, civilian applicants pay almost $800 to become a U.S. citizen. Foreign-born service members are not required to pay the application fee, but spouses must do so.
Don’t Miss: Can A Felon Join Military
Parole In Place Allows Some Family To Get A Temporary Right To Stay And A Green Card Even After Entering Without Inspection
A discretionary opportunity called “Parole in Place” allows certain family members of U.S. military personnel who came to the U.S. illegally, that is, without being inspected by an immigration officer at the border, to apply for the chance to remain in the U.S., in one-year increments.
Eligible applicants include the spouse , child, or parent of an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, an individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or an individual who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
PIP applications must be made on USCIS Form I-131, and include evidence of the qualifying family relationship , proof of the family member’s military service , two color passport-style photographs of the applicant, and evidence of any favorable discretionary factors that USCIS should consider.
A PIP grant potentially allows the person to apply for permanent residence in the U.S. without leaving the United States. Under normal circumstances, applicants who entered illegally must leave the U.S. for the last phase of their application, which is attending an interview and getting an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate in the home country .
Hopefully this Congressional mandate will show up in USCIS’s stated policies and actions soon. In the meantime, be sure to see an attorney if you think you’d benefit from applying for PIP.
Where Do I Apply For Citizenship
Because military candidates may move physically throughout the application process, every military branch has a designated personnel and/or a department for handling applications. Different military divisions have different designations. For a list of different contact points, see below:
The Department of the Army:
Battalion , Brigade Combat Team S-1s, Personnel Services Battalion , Personnel Service Centers , Military Personnel Divisions , and Military Personnel Offices are all available points of contact. Each of them has the capacity to coordinate with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command to facilitate the application process.
The Air Force:
Military Personnel Flights , or applicants may also complete documents online through virtual Military Personnel Flight.
Naval candidates who are seeking naturalization should establish a citizenship representative through the program NAVADMIN 251/04. At this time, the Navy SEAL is not accepting noncitizen applicants.
The Marine Corps:
A Legal assistance officer is the designated representative within the Marines.
You May Like: What Military Branch Makes The Most Money
Applicant Released Other Than Honourably
If the applicant was released other than honourably from the CAF, the applicant does not qualify for citizenship via the fast-track mechanism.
Article 15.01 of the Queens Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces sets out the categories of release. Releases under the following categories are honourable:
- Item 3, Medical
Releases under the following categories are not honourable:
- Item 1, Misconduct and
- Item 2, Unsatisfactory Service.
If the applicant has been released and declares on the application that the release is not honourable, the CPC-S will return the application and advise the applicant to apply under the regular grant application. If the case has been created, and the CPC-S discovers that the applicant was not released honourably, the CPC-S will refer the application to the local office for follow-up.
If the application is either referred to the local office for follow-up or the citizenship officer in the local office discovers that the applicant was released other than honourably from the CAF, the citizenship officer will send a procedural fairness letter to the applicant allowing them the opportunity to respond to the officers concerns. If the applicant is unable to resolve the officers concerns, the application can be refused under subsection 5.
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Kay Jewelers Do Military Discount
Procedures For The Local Office
When the file is received in the local office, it will continue to be processed on a priority basis.
The local office will ensure that the applicant is scheduled for the first available testing session once valid clearances have been obtained. The Citizenship Application Record of Decision Canadian Armed Forces form is to be manually populated , printed, and placed on the file prior to the test session. Part I of the form is to be completed prior to the test or the interview. A level 2 officer will conduct the interview and complete Part II and Part III of the form.
If citizenship is granted, the applicant should be invited to the next available ceremony.
Naturalization Through Qualifying Service During Periods Of Hostilities
Generally, members of the U.S. armed forces who serve honorably for any period of time during specifically designated periods of hostilities are eligible for naturalization under section 329 of the INA through such military service.In general, an applicant for naturalization under INA 329 must:
- Have served honorably in active-duty status, or as a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, for any amount of time during a designated period of hostilities and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably
- Have been lawfully admitted as a permanent resident at any time after enlistment or induction, OR have been physically present in the United States or certain territories at the time of enlistment or induction
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
- Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government
- Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
- Have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law.
There is no minimum age requirement for an applicant under this section.The designated periods of hostilities are:
April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946 June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955 February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978 August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991 September 11, 2001 until the present
You May Like: Where Do I Go To Sign Up For The Military