Immigration and Military Service
Special immigration benefits will apply to current and former members of the U.S. armed forces. In fact, they also often apply to their immediate family members as well. Essentially, military members and their families will be able to expedite the application and naturalization process so they can become U.S. citizens faster. Spouses may even be able to complete the naturalization process abroad as well.
The following military service will qualify for these special benefits:
Immigrants who are considering joining the armed forces must have, at a minimum, a valid green card. They should also live in the U.S. and have established the United States as their home country.
Qualifications to Become a Citizen
Any member of the U.S. military that also wants to become a citizen of the United States must demonstrate the following qualifications:
Military members are exempt from other requirements that are standard for naturalization, such as time periods for having physical presence and residence in the U.S.
Members of the armed forces can complete the entire naturalization process, including interviews and ceremonies, overseas. Many “command-sponsored” spouses have this benefit as well.
Generally, non-citizen military personnel will be able to apply for citizenship after just one year of military service in times of peace. Many times, they can apply immediately after receiving their green card.
Service Requirements in Times of Hostilities
In 2002, the President signed an executive order that authorized any and all noncitizens who have served in the military on or after September 11, 2001, to file for citizenship. As hostilities related to this conflict continue, this authorization remains in effect until a future executive order makes changes to it.
Basic Training and Naturalization
In 2009, the USCIS created the Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative, which permits the Army to give noncitizen members the opportunity to become naturalized when they graduate from basic training. The requirements of the naturalization process become built into the graduation process in these situations.
The program has also expanded to the Navy, Air force, and Marine Corps as well. The program allows those who completed basic training to leave the training as U.S. Citizens in many situations.
Benefits for Military Family Members
Military family members have several benefits that apply to them regarding immigration status as well. These advantages include the following:
Both military personnel and their family members may qualify for significant benefits regarding their immigration status. To find out more, schedule an appointment with our team.
Posted in: Immigration Law