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U.S. Citizenship for Military Personnel FAQ

  1. What is the eligibility for naturalization for military personnel?
  2. Who qualifies for naturalization for U.S. military personnel?
  3. What is Section 328, INA?
  4. What is Section 329, INA?

1. What is the eligibility for naturalization for military personnel?

If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship under special provisions provided for in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Generally, service in the U.S. Armed Forces means service in 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

Recent changes in the relevant sections of the INA (Sections 328 and 329) make it easier for qualified military personnel to become U.S. citizens if they choose to file a naturalization application.

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2. Who qualifies for naturalization for U.S. military personnel?

There are general requirements and qualifications that must be met in order for you to become a U.S. citizen. These include:

  • Demonstrating that you have good moral character
  • Demonstrating knowledge of the English language
  • Demonstrating knowledge of U.S. government and history ("civics")
  • Demonstrating attachment to the United States by taking an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution

As a member of the military there are other naturalization requirements that you may be excepted from, including the required residency and physical presence in the United States. These exceptions are outlined in Sections 328 and 329 of the INA.

If you meet all of the check marks in either Section, you may apply for citizenship under that Section.

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3. What is Section 328, INA?

This section applies to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who currently serve or have served in active-duty status during authorized periods of conflict as outlined in the INA (WWI; September 1, 1939-December 31, 1946; June 25, 1950-July 1, 1955; and February 28, 1961-October 5, 1978) or any additional period designated by the President in an Executive Order.*

You may qualify if:

  • You have served honorably for a total of one or more years.
  • You are a lawful permanent resident.
  • You will be filing your application for naturalization while still in service or within six months of being discharged.

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4. What is Section 329, INA?

This section applies to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who currently serve or have served in active-duty status during authorized periods of conflict as outlined in the INA (WWI; September 1, 1939-December 31, 1946; June 25, 1950-July 1, 1955; and February 28, 1961-October 5, 1978) or any additional period designated by the President in an Executive Order.*

You may qualify if:

  • You served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces during an authorized period of conflict.
  • After enlistment, you were lawfully admitted as a permanent resident of the United States, OR at the time of enlistment, reenlistment or induction you were physically present in the United States or a qualifying territory.

* Recently, the President signed an Executive Order identifying September 11, 2001 and after as an authorized period of conflict.

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