Immigration

Joining the Army for Citizenship: Citizenship through Military Service

Obtaining U.S. citizenship is a significant goal for foreign-born individuals residing in the United States. One promising avenue for achieving this is through military service. By enlisting in the Army, National Guard, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard, foreign nationals can embark on a journey toward naturalization. This article explores the requirements, eligibility criteria, and application process for joining the army for citizenship.

The Significance of Military Service for Citizenship

Foreign-born citizens have the opportunity to pursue U.S. citizenship by joining the army for citizenship in the esteemed U.S. military. Enlisting in any branch of the military establishes a foundation for naturalization, provided certain requirements are met. One of these requirements is a minimum commitment of one year of service.

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Defining Military Service in the U.S.

To be eligible for U.S. citizenship through military service, foreign-born individuals must first obtain a green card, which is advantageous as it allows for a faster path to naturalization compared to non-military individuals.

Typically, non-military individuals must wait for a minimum of five years before being eligible to apply for citizenship. However, for those who have served in the military and received an honorable discharge, the door to naturalization remains open.

Eligibility Criteria for Naturalization

The Immigration and Nationality Act outlines the stipulations for naturalization, but members or veterans of the U.S. military may be exempt from certain requirements. Active-duty personnel, for example, may not need to fulfill the usual residence or physical presence criteria before applying for naturalization. The key eligibility criteria for U.S. military personnel applying for naturalization include:

  1. Attainment of at least 18 years of age
  2. Honorable service in the U.S. military for a minimum period of one year
  3. Submission of Form N-426, also known as the Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service, along with Form N-400
  4. Lawful permanent resident status during the time of the naturalization interview
  5. Proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English
  6. Demonstrable knowledge of fundamental U.S. history and government principles
  7. Exemplary moral conduct during the five-year period preceding the submission of Form N-400
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Application Process for Naturalization

Foreign nationals actively serving in the U.S. military who aspire to become naturalized citizens can seek guidance from designated U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) liaisons to navigate the application process.

Apart from completing the required forms, applicants must undergo fingerprinting and an interview. It is worth noting that the application for naturalization through military service does not involve the conventional application fees.

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Conclusion

Joining the army for citizenship offers foreign-born individuals a viable path to obtaining U.S. citizenship. By fulfilling the eligibility criteria and successfully completing the application process, aspiring citizens can realize their dream of becoming naturalized.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Military Members Policy Manual serves as a valuable resource for non-citizen U.S. military members and their families seeking further information on this topic.

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