Can You Become a US Citizen by Joining the Military?

Those that are serving in the US military have the ability to get special processing of their citizenship if they wish. This is the same during war time whether you are going to join as a naturalized citizen or you have a green card or a visa to enter the US. If you have been active since September 11, 2001 or you have been honorably discharged you will be able to get your citizenship to the US processed. The DREAM ACT has not yet been passed, however this act is in place to grant citizenship to those that have entered the country illegally if they serve in the US military.

Qualifications Waived or Not?

When immigrants hold green cards the law states that these individuals will have waiting period of three years. Those that serve in the military will not have to abide by this law as it will be waived. This same rule will apply even if the individual is in the process of deportation due to being in the US illegally. Anyone that serves in the US military will still need to meet the same requirements in terms of learning US history, speaking the language and their moral character is also evaluated.

Other Immigration Requirements

When serving during a time of peace the requirements state that you must serve for one year before your citizenship via naturalization can be considered. The form that must be filed is an N-400, the same form used by anyone that wishes to become a citizen. The time limit is while on active duty or with an honorable discharge. Those that are currently service members must file additional forms including the N-426 and the certification of Naval Service or Military Service with the appropriate signature from Military Personnel.

How This Could Help Your Spouse

Spouses of military members are also considered regarding the naturalization process. This means that spouses can have their applications reviewed quicker as a result of their spouse’s connection to the military. However, please note that this is only when spouses are going to be deployed. Should a service member be discharged for any reason that is not considered an honorable discharge, the privileges will not be granted at all. In the case that a service member has served for at least 5 years prior to this time, an exception can be made.

The laws regarding citizenship via the naturalization process can be complicated when it comes to serving in the military and related situations. If you have questions regarding your unique case you may want to contact an immigration lawyer today.

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