If you have participated in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard, America thanks you for your service. By enlisting in the military, you can create a path to citizenship for yourself, and possibly your family, as well.
The American Community Survey reports that more than 261,700 veterans reside in just Los Angeles County, some of whom are not yet citizens but wish to pursue naturalization. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) offers a process to military personnel seeking naturalization through military duty. If you served honorably for at least one year during a conflict or peacetime, you could be eligible for a path to citizenship.
Naturalization Through Military Service
Many armed forces agencies have an assigned liaison for immigration purposes, who can assist with the naturalization process. They can often be located in the branch’s community service center. The military road toward citizenship begins with the completion of several documents, some of which are applicable to nonmilitary persons, as well.
Military Naturalization Forms
Military veterans who apply for naturalization must begin by completing an N-400 form, which is the standard application for citizenship. They will also require an N-426 form, which is a request for certification of military service.
Members of the armed forces must have their N-426 certified by their branch of the military. If they have already separated from service, an uncertified form is acceptable, but there will be additional forms and requirements to fulfill.
Posthumous Naturalization for Service Members
Often a soldier who died in military service of at least one year may be eligible for posthumous naturalization under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §§329A. Persons who are seeking this type of citizenship for deceased military members must file Form N-644, the Application for Posthumous Citizenship. A grant of this type of naturalization may allow spouses and children to get survivor immigration benefits, which may include citizenship.
Naturalization for Military Spouses
The spouses of U.S. citizen soldiers may also seek naturalization. If their spouse is stationed abroad or soon will be out of the country, they might apply for expedited naturalization. Expedited citizenship is decided on a case-by-case basis by authority of the INA §319(b).
Requirements for expedited naturalization for military spouses includes the following criteria:
If a soldier is a U.S. citizen, a spouse may pursue naturalization for themselves and their children under INA §319(d). Moreover, under that same section families may pursue survivor immigration benefits, if the service person has died honorably during active duty status and has achieved posthumous naturalization.
Discuss Naturalization Through Military Service with a Lawyer
You might be able to explore more than one path to naturalization through military service. The forms and requirements can be confusing, as there are several additional forms for soldiers and the families of military personnel. Call an immigration lawyer to discuss naturalization options for service members and their families.