Editor PicksHow To Become A Us Citizen Through Military

How To Become A Us Citizen Through Military


Different Ways To Get Us Citizenship Through Military Service

Through the military lies the path to US citizenship

There are 3 sections INA 328, INA 329, and INA 329A through which military-based naturalization can occur. If you meet all the requirements under these sections then you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. By applying through these sections you will not have to pay any fees for the application to the USCIS.

Expedited Us Citizenship For Military Personnel

Military personnel enjoy some tremendous immigration benefits compared to their civilian counterparts. A person who is serving in the U.S. armed forces or was recently honorably discharged may be eligible to apply for expedited citizenship through naturalization the military community sometimes refers to this as peacetime naturalization. The immigration benefits include:

  • Continuous residence requirement is waived

    While most naturalization applicants need 5 years as a permanent resident , military personnel can obtain U.S. citizenship much more quickly. The continuous residence requirement is waived. Learn more > >

  • Physical presence requirement is waived

    While most naturalization applicants are required to be physically present in the U.S. for 30 months , military personnel can obtain U.S. citizenship much more quickly. The physical presence requirement is waived. Learn more > >

  • USCIS filing fee is waived

    Naturalization will cost most civilian permanent residents $725 . The fees are waived for military service members.

Whats more, a service member only needs to be a permanent resident by the date of the citizenship interview. In general an individual in the U.S. armed forces may qualify for naturalization if he or she meets all of the following requirements :

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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American Immigration Lawyers Association Military Assistance Program

MAP is a partnership between AILA and U.S. military JAG Corps established in 2008. AILA provides pro bono legal assistance to service members with complicated citizenship needs that require help above and beyond what a military LAO can offer.

  • Requesting Assistance: AILA MAP will work to match your case with a pro bono immigration attorney if you meet all the following requirements:
  • You are an active duty service member or recent veteran
  • You are currently unrepresented by an attorney
  • You hold a rank of E-6 or lower
  • You are requesting immigration assistance for yourself and/or a child, fiancé, spouse, or parent
  • You require immigration assistance for a case that doesnt involve adoption or serious criminal issues and
  • You have not requested AILA MAP assistance previously.

What Is The Easiest Way To Become A Us Citizen


Applying for a green card is the most common way most people begin the process of becoming a United States citizen. Citizenship through naturalization is traditionally how most immigrants become U.S. citizens.

This list of the four main ways to obtain U.S. citizenship will help you determine which route is the best choice for your situation:

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Exceptions Based On Age And Disability


If you cannot afford the filing fee for income-based reasons, you may apply for a fee reduction or waiver.

Weve joined forces with RapidVisa. Together we can help you complete your citizenship application and guide you all the way to the finish line. Well help you stay on top of interview preparation, follow-on forms, and every other important milestone along the way.

The Power Of The Us Passport

As a citizen of the United States, youre entitled to a U.S. passport, which comes with a number of benefits. For starters, youll have visa-free access to over 180 countries and territories throughout the world, and if, while abroad, you find yourself in an emergency, youll be able to contact the local U.S. consulate or embassy. Youll also have near-complete freedom to travel the globe, as the U.S. government places no restrictions on the duration or frequency of trips abroad.

Weve joined forces with RapidVisa. Together we stay with you throughout the naturalization process from the moment you file your citizenship application all the way to your Oath of Allegiance ceremony.

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How To Apply For French Citizenship

If you have what it takes to join the French Foreign Legion, then youll be on track to get citizenship through military service in France.

To be eligible to apply, youll need to have served honorably in the French Foreign Legion for at least three years, and you must serve under your real name and have no problems with the authorities.

However, if youre injured in battle before your three years are up, you can immediately apply for citizenship under a provision known as Français par le sang versé, meaning French by spilled blood.

Once you are eligible to apply, you must then submit an application for naturalization to French authorities.

Although your military service allows you to waive residency requirements, you will still need to pass an interview to determine your language skills and knowledge of French society. You will also need to demonstrate good character.

During your service, however, you should be able to establish good character, and youll likely acquire most of the language skills and other knowledge required to become a French citizen.

Citizenship Requirements For Military Members

Gaining US citizenship gets harder for immigrant soldiers

Normally, a noncitizen must have five years of legal permanent residency in the U.S. to apply. A noncitizen married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years can apply after three years of residency.

However, special provisions apply for members of the Armed Forces. Under INA Section 328, people who have served in the U.S. military can file for naturalization based on their current or prior U.S. military service.

The applicant must have served honorably or have separated from the service under honorable conditions, have completed one year or more of military service, and be a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination by USCIS on the application for naturalization, also referred to as Form N-400.

Filing for naturalization under this provision of the law, Section 328 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, excuses the applicant from any specific period of residence or physical presence within the United States, so long as the application is filed while the applicant is still serving in the military or within six months of an honorable discharge.

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How Avoiding Military Service Can Hurt Your Naturalization

There are lots of penalties for abandoning your post or deserting your squad, not the least of which is the inability to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. A different statute, INA 314, states that any non-citizen who deserted or left the U.S. to avoid a draft, is no longer eligible to be a U.S. citizen. However, this doesnt apply to anyone who was convicted but never charged with desertion, or anyone merely charged with going AWOL.

There are, however, a few ways around these bars to naturalization. For deserters, if you were never charged with desertion because you were administratively discharged instead of being court-martialed, you may still pursue citizenship as a civilian. And for the alienage bar, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that even people who voluntarily leave the military citing alienage could still apply as civilians as long as they were not aware of the consequences of asking for an alienage discharge from the military.

Get A Certificate Of Citizenship Or Certificate Of Naturalization

Apply for a Certificate of Citizenship if:

Foreign nationals receive a Certificate of Naturalization when they become American citizens. Get certified copies of a Certificate of Naturalization.

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Immediate Right To Apply For Citizenship After One Year’s Military Service

If you served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least one year in total you can apply for citizenship just as soon as you get your green card. It doesn’t matter whether the United States was at war during your service, which is why you’ll sometimes hear this exception called “peacetime naturalization.”

You’ll need to be age 18 or older to apply, and you’ll need to meet the other standard criteria for naturalization. However, you won’t have to pay the usual N-400 application fee. But you will have to complete and file an additional form, called USCIS Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service. This form will require input and a signature from a U.S. military official.

If you have already been discharged from the military, the discharge must have been honorable, and you’ll need to hurry to use this exception: If more than six months pass after your discharge and before you file your application for naturalization, you’ll be back to following the five-year rule that applies to civilian applicants. But see the next section of this article, which could help you if you served during wartime.

Who Should Get Citizenship Through Military Service In The Us

How to Become a U.S. Citizen

Although getting citizenship through military service in the US is a great way to expedite the citizenship process, its not the best option for everyone.

First, youll need to establish permanent residence in the US before you can even join the military.

While there are many ways to do this, they usually require spending a substantial amount of time in the US, and approval for your green card can take up to four years.

Additionally, if you want to become a US citizen, then you should want to live in the US full-time.

Not only is the process of becoming a US citizen lengthy, but it also drastically impacts your taxes.

As a US citizen, you will become part of a system of citizenship-based taxation.

You can learn a bit more about that here, but to summarize, citizenship-based taxation means that you will need to file income tax with the US government each year regardless of whether you actually live there.

Because the US tax net is so difficult to escape, becoming a US citizen is only worthwhile if you plan to actually live there.

Finally, getting US citizenship through military service requires time and effort.

To even enter the US military, you will need to pass a series of exams to test your mental and physical capabilities, and when you enlist, you will undergo intense training even for non-combat positions.

If you arent sure if the rigor and structure of the US military are right for you, then you may not want to pursue citizenship through military service in the US.

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Citizenship Through Military Service In France

Although getting US citizenship through military service is fairly straightforward, its not the most attractive option for everyone.

US citizenship permanently ties you into the US tax system, and aside from a US passport, it doesnt come with many of the benefits that other developed countries have, such as free healthcare and education.

Fortunately, if US citizenship doesnt sound very appealing, you can still get citizenship through military service in France by serving in the French Foreign Legion.

Unlike the US, France uses residential taxation, which allows citizens to exit its tax system without renouncing their passports. France also has more extensive social services, and its a member of the EU.

Since its a more attractive passport, however, its a bit harder to get through military service.

Requirements For Us Citizenship

To be eligible for naturalization, you must be a person of good moral character, which CIS will evaluate.

The law requires applicants to demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including the ability to read, write, and speak simple words and phrases in the ordinary usage of the English language.

Applicants must show that they have a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States.

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Expedited Us Citizenship For Family Members Of Military Personnel

Spouses of U.S. citizen members of the U.S. armed forces may be eligible for expedited or overseas naturalization. And children of service members may be eligible for overseas naturalization.

Spouses of U.S. citizen service members who are deployed may be eligible for expedited naturalization in the United States. In general, an applicant for naturalization must meet the following requirements of the INA):

  • Must be age 18 or older
  • Has good moral character
  • Has the ability to read, write and speak the English language
  • Has knowledge of U.S. government and history
  • Is ready and willing to take an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution
  • Obtained lawful permanent resident status before the citizenship interview/test
  • Establish that his or her U.S. citizen spouse is deployed abroad as a service member

For additional information, see the USCIS websites section on Citizenship for Spouses and Children of Military Members.

My Spouse Was Admitted In A Conditional Status How Do I Get That Changed To Unconditional

US Marines in Australia become US citizens on Osprey

If you received your conditional permanent resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or being admitted to the United States as a fiancé of a U.S. citizen , your conditional permanent residents status is valid for only two years and cannot be renewed. You must file a petition to remove conditions on permanent resident status, or risk losingyour lawful status.

For additional instructions on how to remove your condition status, speak with an attorney at a Region Legal Service Office and consult the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services instructions to Remove My Conditional Status.

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How Do I Get A Us Passport

If you will be traveling outside the United States, whether on military orders or on, you may need a U.S. passport. A passport identifies you as a United States citizen and allows you to re-enter the country upon your return. U.S. Passports are issued by the United States Department of State.

To determine what forms you will need, use the Department of States: “What Form Should I Use?” information service.

If you are being assigned overseas, you or your dependents may be issued an official no-fee passport for use. Special requirements apply. For answers to the most frequently asked questions about Military No-Fee Passports.

Ways To Become A Us Citizen

    Immigrants around the world have visions of the American dream. Arriving at the land of opportunity is only the first step in a long journey to citizenship. Most immigrants stay in the United States legally by getting a green card .

    If you are an immigrant, there are four basic paths to citizenship in the United States: citizenship through naturalization, citizenship through marriage, citizenship through birth, and citizenship through military service.

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    How Certain Military Personnel Can Naturalize Quickly

    In July 2002, President George W. Bush issued an executive order that made non-citizen members of the armed forces eligible for expedited citizenship in the United States. Special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act now authorize U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces, recently discharged service members, and their spouses.

    According to USCIS, over 100,000 members of the U.S. armed forces have been naturalized since September 2002. And over 10,000 gained their U.S. citizenship in naturalization ceremonies abroad such as the ceremony pictured above in an Iraqi palace.

    Citizenship Process #: Gaining Citizenship Through Naturalization

    Become a citizen at boot camp: Army

    A green card is key to becoming a naturalized citizen. Having a green card technically means you are a legal permanent resident of the United States. You can live and work freely throughout the country.

    You may be able to get a green card:

    • If you already have a relative living legally in the United States: Your relative can sponsor you. A U.S. citizen can immediately sponsor a spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents. The wait time these relatives have for a green card is minimal. U.S. citizens can also sponsor siblings, unmarried children over 21 years of age and married adult children. These relatives will have to wait several years to obtain a green card.
    • If you have a qualifying job offer: If you are moving to the United States for a permanent job offer, your employer can petition you for a green card. Immigrants who demonstrate exceptional ability do not need a sponsor and can petition themselves.
    • If you are legally in the United States as a refugee or asylee: If you are in either of these categories and have lived in the United States for a year, you may petition for a green card.

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    Naturalization Through One Year Of Qualifying Service During Peacetime

    Generally, a person who has served honorably in the military at any time may be eligible to apply for naturalization. The military community sometimes refers to this as peacetime naturalization.

    In general, you must:

    • Have served honorably in the military for at least 1 year and, if a veteran, must have received an honorable discharge
    • Be a permanent resident when you apply
    • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government
    • Be able to read, write and speak English
    • Demonstrate good moral character for at least 5 years prior to applying
    • Meet other certain residence and physical presence requirements

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