Citizenship for Military Members


Citizenship for Military Members

Members and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces may be eligible for naturalization through their military service under section 328 or 329 of the INA.

 

General Requirements and Exceptions

Qualifying military service is in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and certain components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. The general requirements for naturalization may be diminished or waived for a qualifying service member.

 

Naturalization through One Year of Qualifying Service During “Peacetime”

Generally, a person who has served honorably in the U.S. armed forces at any time may be eligible to apply for naturalization under section 328 of the INA. The military community sometimes refers to this as “peacetime naturalization.”

 

An applicant for naturalization under section 328 of the INA must:

  • Have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for at least one year and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably
  • Be a LPR at the time of examination on the naturalization application
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years and have been physically present in the U.S. for at least thirty months out of the five years immediately preceding the date of filing the application, UNLESS the applicant has filed an application while still in the service or within six months of separation. In the latter case, the applicant is not required to meet these residence and physical presence requirements

 

Naturalization through Qualifying Service during Periods of Hostilities

Generally, members of the U.S. armed forces who serve honorably for ANY period of time (even one day) during specifically designated periods of hostilities are eligible for naturalization under section 329 of the INA through such military service.

 

An applicant for naturalization under section 329 of the INA must:

  • Have served honorably in active-duty status, or as a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, for any amount of time during a designated period of hostilities and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably
  • Have been lawfully admitted as a LPR at any time after enlistment or induction, OR have been physically present in the U.S. or certain territories at the time of enlistment or induction (regardless of whether the applicant was admitted as a LPR)
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution

 

There is no minimum age requirement for an applicant under this section. The designated periods of hostility are:

  • April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
  • September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946
  • June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955
  • February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978
  • August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991
  • September 11, 2001 until present

 

Application Processing

Current members of the U.S. armed forces who qualify for naturalization under sections 328 or 329 of the INA can proceed with their naturalization application either in the U.S. or overseas.

If an applicant is a service member, he or she will not be charged filing or biometrics fees. To apply for naturalization, the applicant must complete form N-400, and form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service.

 

Attachments