Naturalization Process for Military Servicemen
The following guide outlines the special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which authorize U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces and recently discharged members.
GenerallyYou may qualify for naturalization if one of the following requirements is met:
You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years;
You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen;
You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces;
Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.
More specifically, applicants are required to show that they have:
Resided continuously in the U.S. for five years before applying, (see legal basis), or
Resided continuously in the U.S. for three years in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens.
Military Service GenerallyGenerally, qualifying military service includes service with one of the following branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, certain components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
A member of the U.S. armed forces must meet the requirements and qualifications to become a citizen of the United States. He or she must demonstrate:
Good moral character
Knowledge of the English language
Knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics), and
Attachment to the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution
Service in PeacetimeSection 328 of the INA applies to all members of the U.S. armed forces and those already discharged from service. An individual may qualify for naturalization if he or she has:
Served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for at least one year
Obtained lawful permanent resident status, and
Filed an application while still in the service or within six months of separation
Service During Periods of HostilityUnder special provisions in Section 329 of the INA, the President signed an executive order on July 3, 2002, authorizing all noncitizens who have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces on or after Sept. 11, 2001, to immediately file for citizenship. This order also covers veterans of certain designated past wars and conflicts. The authorization will remain in effect until a date designated by a future presidential executive order.