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Can Immigrants Join Us Military


New Americans In The Us Armed Forces Fact Sheet

Can Immigrants Join The U.S Military?

Immigrants who are foreign-born have a proud history of serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. One in five Medal of Honor recipients is an immigrant. Immigrant service members and their families should be supported and have the same access to services as all veterans. Commonsense immigration reform policies that expand the pool of people who can serve in the armed forces will improve our national security and military readiness.

How many immigrants currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces?

  • Between 1999 and 2010, about 80,000 immigrants joined the armed forces.
  • About 24,000 immigrants were on active duty in 2012, and about 5,000 immigrants join each year.
  • In 2013, 3,862 noncitizens enlisted just in the Army and Army Reserve .

What are the requirements for immigrants to join the armed forces?

To be eligible to serve in the armed forces, those who are not citizens must:

  • Be living permanently and legally in the United States
  • Have permission to work in the United States
  • Possess an I-551
  • Have obtained a high school diploma and
  • Speak English.

How many veterans are foreign-born?

  • As of 2016, 511,000 veterans who are immigrants live in the United States, making up approximately 3 percent of the total veteran population.
  • About 82 percent of immigrant veterans are naturalized U.S. citizens.

How many noncitizen service members have naturalized?

  • From fiscal year 2001 to 2015, 109,321 immigrant members have naturalized.
  • Since 2008, 2,650 military spouses have naturalized.

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.

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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Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Serve In The Military Says Department Of Defense

Up to 1,500 undocumented immigrants per year will be allowed to serve in the U.S. military under a new Department of Defense policy revealed Thursday.

Under the umbrella of the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program, recruiters will now be able to sign up foreign nationals living in the U.S. with desirable skills such as language and health care expertise, the Military Times reported.

Immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16 are eligible and may be part of a broader strategy to create new paths to citizenship. There are up to 2 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who might qualify for the MAVNI program through 2012’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program.

“We’re just not sure how many within that existing population of DACA would have the linguistic skills to qualify,” an unnamed defense official told Military Times. “These are kids who entered the country at a fairly young age and have basically grown up in the United States, so the limit of their language talents would probably be the language that they received at home.”

There’s a big incentive for enlistment. MAVNI, which began in 2008, would give someone who serves a clear path to citizenship.

The Department of Defense also notified Congress Thursday that MAVNI, set to expire, will be extended two more years, according to Military Times.

The Us Military Helps Naturalize Non

Can Immigrants Join The U.S Military?

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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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 .

Immigrating To The Us

The U.S. military isn’t allowed to assist foreign nationals in obtaining entrance into the United States. Immigration to the U.S. and eventual naturalization as a citizen is handled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Foreign nationals may visit the USCIS website to start the process of immigration to the United States. Many resident aliens in the U.S. began their journey by applying for family- or employment-based immigration visas, the granting of which may be immediate or could take several years, depending on different factors.

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Undocumented Immigrants May Be Allowed Into Military

  • For the first time in decades, a small number of undocumented immigrants could join the military.
  • Immigrants approved for President Barack Obama’s deferred action program will now be eligible.
  • Only a small fraction of undocumented immigrants approved for deferred action will qualify.

For the first time in decades, a small number of undocumented immigrants will get the chance to join the military.

The Department of Defense announced Thursday that undocumented immigrants approved for President Barack Obama’s deferred action program will now be able to enlist in the military through a program that recruits non-citizens with highly specialized skills and fast-tracks them for citizenship.

However, only a small fraction of the more than 580,000 undocumented immigrants already approved for deferred action will qualify for the program, known as Military Accessions Vital to National Interest.

That’s because the program is limited only to immigrants who speak select languages such as Arabic and Pushtu, or have professional medical training that is considered to be in short supply, such as orthopedic surgeons and nurse anesthetists.

What’s more, applicants must pass a top-secret security background check, and the program is limited to 1,500 non-citizens a year.

There is already a waiting list of 4,000 to 5,000 people, according to Margaret Stock, an immigration lawyer in Anchorage, Alaska, and a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

“That’s a very tiny program,” Stock said.

The Us Military Relies On Immigrants

Benefits of Joining U.S. Military for Immigrants in America

The Military Relies On Immigrants To Help Reach Its Recruiting Goals. According to the Immigration Policy Center, Over the past eight years, Congress has amended military related enlistment and naturalization rules to allow expanded benefits for immigrants and their families and encourage recruitment of immigrants into the U.S. Armed Forces. The U.S. military has also implemented new programs to encourage the enlistment and rapid naturalization of noncitizens who serve honorably during the current conflict. Without the contributions of immigrants, the military could not meet its recruiting goals and could not fill its need for foreignlanguage translators, interpreters, and cultural experts.

Immigrants Serve In All Branches of the Military and Are a Vital Resource In The U.S. War On Terror. According to the Immigration Policy Center, From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants voluntarily serve in all branches of the U.S. military and are a vital resource in the ongoing conflict against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

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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.

Enlisting With A Green Card

A green card by itself does not let you join the U.S. Army. You must be living in the U.S., and be able to speak, read and write English fluently. You must also meet the same requirements all Army recruits face:

  • You are at least 17-years-old and no older than 35. That applies to regular Army, reserves and the National Guard.
  • You are in good health.
  • You have a high school diploma, though a GED may suffice.
  • You pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
  • If you want to become an officer, you must be a college graduate.

If you have a disqualifying condition such as health problems or a criminal record, you can ask the Army to waive it. There is no guarantee you will get a waiver, but there is no cost for making the request.

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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.


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The Pentagon Will Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Join ...

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Obama Speaks At Troop Naturalization Ceremony Can Immigrants Join Us Military

The President welcomed 26 members of the armed forces after they took the naturalization oath. Service in the military can expedite the citizenship process.


    President Obama on July fourth presided over a naturalization ceremony for 25 US service members. Among those sworn in as US citizens were Byron Oswaldo Acevedo, a Marine Lance Corporal from Guatemala Terence Njikang Ekabe, An Air Force medical technician born in Cameroon and Faye Ubad Ngirchomlei, an Army military police specialist from Palau.

    Some of you came here as children, brought by parents who dreamed of giving you the opportunities that they never had, said Obama in remarks to the assembled troops. Others of you came as adults, finding your way through a new country and a new culture and a new language. All of you did something profound: You chose to serve.

    Obama used the occasion to touch briefly on his recent move to stop deporting children brought to the US who grow up in the country and serve in the military or attend college. He urged passage of legislation codifying his action, as well as comprehensive immigration reform.

    Because the lesson of these 235 years is clear immigration makes America stronger, he said.

    Besides providing a forum for Obama to promote his immigration positions in general, the ceremony shed light on an aspect of the US military many in the country may not realize: you dont have to be a citizen to join.

    Get stories that empower and uplift daily.

    What A Country: Immigrants Serve Us Military Well

    By Alan Dowd on April 2, 2018

    Guor Maker has led a remarkable life. He survived slavery and a brutal civil war in Sudan that claimed 28 members of his family, fled to a better life in America, graduated from college, and competed in two Olympics as a marathon runner. He even served as flag-bearer for South Sudans first-ever Olympic team in the Rio Games. Today, he wears the flag of his new country and serves it in an even more important role, as an airman in the United States Air Force. In an era where old debates over immigration are resurfacing, Makers only-in-America story is a reminder of how important immigrants are to this nationand how much they sacrifice to serve and defend their new home.

    Few Americans realize that 65,000 immigrants serve in the US military today. That number includes some 18,700 troops who hold green cards . According to the Pentagon, about 5,000 such residents enlist each year.

    Since late 2001 when President George W. Bush implemented a new naturalization process for immigrant servicemembers, more than 109,300 US troops have been naturalized, according to the most up-to-date statistics from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services . More than 11,000 of those military personnel became citizens during naturalization ceremonies in war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq in hot spots such as Jordan and Libya in front-line posts such as Bahrain, Guantanamo Bay, Djibouti, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

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