Many people are shocked to know that the United States military isn’t comprised only of U.S. citizens. There are some people who immigrated here who joined the military in the hopes of becoming citizens. Immigrants who are in the military have to meet specific criteria to be able to file for naturalization.
The criteria for this to happen are covered in the Immigration and Nationality Act, sections 328 and 329. Section 328 covers people who serve during times of peace. Section 329 covers those who serve during times of hostility.
In all cases, the service member must serve honorably if they are going to file the petition for citizenship. They must also:
- Show that they know U.S. history and government
- Meet residency requirements and have an appropriate presence in the U.S.
- Prove they can read, speak and write in English
- Show they are attached to Constitution principles
- Have good character and morals for five years prior to the filing
- Submit an N-426 and N-400 to apply for citizenship
A service person who serves during a time of peace must have at least one year of service. That one-year requirement isn’t present for people who serve in a period of hostility. There are specific service dates that are used for periods of hostility.
- 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 (and continuing through today)
Just as with any naturalization petition, you must ensure that you have everything filled out correctly and honestly. Any omissions can result in a denial of the petition.