Among the people who serve the U.S. Armed Forces are innumerable non-U.S. citizens and the country recognizes the sacrifices made by them. That is the reason why U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the INS) has made the path to U.S. citizenship for the members of the armed forces simple. USCIS processes naturalization applications filed by such non-U.S. citizens in an efficient and timely manner.
To become eligible for military citizenship, a non-U.S. citizen must serve in the military, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps or in the Air Force. Non-U.S. citizens currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and those who were recently discharged may qualify for citizenship under special provisions if they have served in active duty for a year or more. They need to be legal residents and must file their applications while in service or six months after being honorably discharged. People who have served during hostilities may qualify for naturalization if they had served in the U.S. armed forces during designated periods of conflict.
To qualify, military personnel must be proficient in English and must have knowledge of U.S. history. They must also establish good moral character and that they will be attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution. USCIS waives certain requirements; service members need not pay the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, application filing fee and the biometrics fee. They also need not meet the continuous residence and physical presence requirements. Qualifying military personnel need to file Form N-400 along with Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service.
Applicants need to file their applications with the Nebraska Service Center and the service center, in turn, will forward their applications to the USCIS offices in the applicants’ locations after reviewing them. Service members also can provide information on the locations where they wish to be interviewed in cover letters and include it in their application packets.
USCIS will require them to appear for interviews after reviewing their applications. Interviews are conducted in order to determine their eligibility for naturalization. Soon after their applications are approved and if they are found to be eligible for naturalization, USCIS will notify them of their naturalization ceremonies where they need to take the Oath of Allegiance. Under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) people serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and their eligible dependents may be permitted to naturalize overseas.