If you serve in the United States Armed Forces, you may be eligible to obtain citizenship through naturalization under the special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Find out what the requirements are and how to apply if you are inside or outside the country.
From 2002 to 2022, a total of 158,000 members of the United States Armed Forces became naturalized Americans, both at home and abroad. Ceremonies have been held in more than 30 countries from Albania to the United Arab Emirates. In fiscal year 2022, more than 10,600 military personnel acquired nationality, an increase of almost 21% over the previous year. Most are men, ages 18 to 21, and come from countries like Indonesia, Jamaica, and Mexico.
Veterans and the military may be eligible to become US citizens. For those cases, certain general requirements for naturalization are reduced or eliminated, including the requirements that the applicant have resided and been physically present in the United States for a specified period prior to naturalization.
HOW DO YOU GET US CITIZENSHIP?
People born in the United States are considered United States citizens. However, people born in other countries can obtain US citizenship in two ways:
- By birth through parents
- by naturalization
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO APPLY FOR US CITIZENSHIP FOR SERVICE IN THE ARMED FORCES? ?
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), these are the requirements to apply for United States citizenship through active duty include:
- Proof of being 18 years of age or older.
- Have served honorably in the United States Armed Forces.
- Have lawful permanent residence (have a “Green Card”) at the time of your naturalization interview.
- Submit Application for Naturalization (N-400).
- Form N-426, Certification of Military or Naval Service (Active Duty).
- Photocopy of your DD Form 214 or NGB Form 22. (Non-Active Duty).
- Demonstrate that, if you were separated from military service, it was under honorable conditions.
- Demonstrate that you can read, speak, and write English unless you qualify for a waiver or exception.
- Demonstrate knowledge of US history and government, unless you have a waiver or exception.
- Show that you have been a person of good moral character for at least 5 years before filing Form N-400 and until you naturalize.
- Demonstrate that you adhere to the principles of the United States Constitution and act in accordance with the principles of order and the common good of the United States during all periods under the law.
NOTE: Use the Naturalization Eligibility Tool to find out if you qualify to apply for US citizenship online with the Application for Naturalization (N-400).
HOW DO I APPLY FOR NATURALIZATION IF I AM IN THE US ARMED FORCES?
You can be inside or outside of the United States. Here are the steps you must follow to submit your application:
On active duty:
- You must request, through your chain of command, a certification of your honorable military service on Form N-426, Certification of Military or Naval Service.
Separated from the armed forces
- If you have already separated from the United States Armed Forces, you must submit a photocopy of your DD Form 214Certificate of Separation or Licensing from Active Service, or the Form NGB 22National Guard Separation Report or Service Record for all periods of service indicated on Form N-426.
Where is the application sent?
The application and requirements are sent to:
- USCISP.O. Box 4446 Chicago, IL 60680-4446
- Online: You can complete the application if you created a USCIS account online. Submit your Form N-400.