If you were not born in the United States but you wish to become a US citizen, and you are in the Armed Forces or are thinking about joining, you may want to consider naturalization through military service. You see, immigrants who join the US military and their dependents may be able to apply for citizenship under special provisions for service members and veterans.
Are you currently serving in the US Armed Forces, or have you served and you received an honorable discharge? Either way, if you’re interested in becoming a US citizen, you may qualify for naturalization under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Did You Serve During Peacetime?
Did you serve honorably in the US military for one or more years during peacetime? If so, you may meet the requirements to apply for naturalization. To qualify under INA 328:
- You must have served during peacetime in the Armed Forces for at least one year and it must have been honorable;
- You have to submit a Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service, which will prove that you served honorably;
- You must be a Green Card holder when your naturalization application is examined;
- You must meet certain physical presence and residency requirements;
- You must demonstrate that you can read, write, and speak English;
- You will have to demonstrate your knowledge of US history and government;
- You must be able to show that you are a person of good moral character for at least five years before applying for naturalization; and
- You must show that you are attached to the principles of the US Constitution.
What about serving during a period of hostility? INA 329 addresses veterans and current service members who have served honorably while on active duty or in the Ready Reserve or Selected Reserve during what is called a “designated period of conflict.” If you have questions about the designated periods of conflict, we can explain them to you, but the most recent period of conflict spans from September 11, 2001, to present.
Next: Can Non-US Citizens Join the Military?
To learn more about naturalization for veterans, current members of the Armed Forces and their dependents, contact our Plano immigration firm.