Citizenship for Military Personnel

There are special provisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for members of the United States Armed Forces who wish to become US citizens. US Armed Forces generally means service in any one of the following branches:

  • Army

  • Navy

  • Marine Corps

  • Air Force

  • Coast Guard

  • Certain Reserve components of the National Guard

  • Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve

Certain sections in the INA (Sections 328 and 329) were altered to make the process easier for military personnel filing the citizenship form to become US citizens.

To qualify for citizenship, you have to meet certain requirements and qualifications. These include:

  • Demonstrating good moral character

  • Demonstrating knowledge of the English language

  • Demonstrating knowledge of US government and history (civics)

  • Demonstrating attachment to the US by taking an oath of allegiance to the US Constitution

There are certain privileges given to members of military in the form of exceptions to certain eligibility requirements such as the required residency and physical presence in the US, generally which are mandatory for other naturalization applicants.

Section 328 of the INA is for all members presently serving in the US Armed Forces or those who have already been discharged from service.

You may qualify under this section if you:

  • served honorably for a total of one or more years.

  • are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the US.

  • will be filing your citizenship form while still in service or within six months of being discharged.

Section 329 of the INA applies is for members of the US Armed Forces who currently serve or have served in active-duty during the authorized periods of conflict as mentioned in the INA (WWI; September 1, 1939-December 31, 1946; June 25, 1950-July 1, 1955 and February 28, 1961-October 5, 1978) or additional period designated by the President in an Executive Order.

You may qualify under this section if you:

  • served in the US Armed Forces honorably during an authorized period of conflict.

  • after enlistment, were lawfully admitted as a permanent resident of the US, OR at the time of enlistment, re-enlistment or induction, were physically present in the US or a qualifying territory.

The President recently signed an Executive Order identifying September 11, 2001 and after as an authorized period of conflict.

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