US citizenship through military service: what you need to know about this opportunity
Every year, thousands of foreign troops and their families become US citizens. The publication told how to become a US citizen, and how you can use your military service to speed up the process and save money. Military One Source.
There are three main benefits for military personnel born abroad who wish to obtain US citizenship:
- Reduced stay requirements
Typically, applicants must reside in the United States as a legal permanent resident continuously for five or three years before they can apply for citizenship if they are married to a US citizen. In most cases, foreign servicemen only need one year of honorary service before they can submit Form N-400 “Application for Naturalization”.
- Lack of residence status requirement
Civilian applicants must reside for at least three months in the state or area of service where they submit their N-400 form. Military personnel of foreign origin are not required to meet this requirement.
- No application fees
Civilian applicants pay nearly $ 800 to become a US citizen. Military personnel born abroad are not required to pay the registration fee, but their spouses are required to pay it.
6 steps to naturalization and US citizenship through military service
Since 2019, there have been changes in the Department of Defense policy regarding applying for US citizenship by foreign troops during service. These changes are described in detail below.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how the naturalization process usually works for foreign troops. Many military facilities have a representative of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. He will help you in the application process in the form of N-400. Be sure to ask your commander and local representative for the latest information on naturalization policies for active military personnel.
- First, make sure you are entitled to citizenship. Use the conformity sheet for naturalization requirements (Form M-480).
- A request for certification of form N-426 can be submitted after serving at least 180 days during a military conflict or one full year in peacetime.
- Filling out Form N-400 includes filling out Form N-426 and its certification in the previous step. Form N-400 contains the necessary information, as well as a list of documents that you will need to provide to USCIS to complete the naturalization process. Providing these documents at the beginning of the process will save you time, so collect these materials before filling out and submitting an application.
- The provision of biometrics. If you live in the United States, you will receive a notification that you should contact the Support Center to provide biometric information that confirms your identity, such as fingerprints. You can also provide your biometric data in advance of submitting documents. If you are abroad, you must provide passport photographs and FD-258 cards along with the N-400 form.
- A personal interview with a designated USCIS officer at a designated location. The officer will review with you the materials of your application, check your knowledge of both oral and written English, as well as US history. Depending on how your interview goes, a USCIS officer may approve, reject, suspend, or offer your application for naturalization for further consideration. If USCIS rejects your application in Form N-400, you will receive a written notice outlining the reasons for the refusal and how you can appeal this decision by filling out Form N-336 “Request for a hearing in the naturalization process”.
- If USCIS approves your N-400 form, you will be invited to a ceremony of taking the oath of allegiance and officially become a US citizen. This may happen on the same day as your interview, or a different date may be set.
On the subject: How to apply for US citizenship and a green card online
Military support service
Support is available for military personnel and their families who have questions about applying for citizenship.
Call the USCIS toll-free helpline: 877-247-4645, TTY (800) 877-8339, or visit its official website. USCIS representatives answer calls Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 16:00 (Central), except on days that are federal holidays. US Army personnel and their families located in the United States or abroad can call this toll-free number through their telephone operator or through a secure network (DSN).
For spouses or children of military personnel located in the Asia-Pacific region who are awaiting consideration of applications in the USCIS, a special email address is provided for inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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