Citizenship for Military Personnel

If you are a member of the US Armed Forces and want to become a US citizen, you may qualify to apply for naturalization under special provisions provided in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In general terms, service in the US Armed Forces means service in one of the following:

• Army

• Navy

• Marine Corps

• Air Force

• Coast Guard

• National Guard

USCIS has a process specifically for military personnel who file under the military naturalization provisions.

There are certain requirements that you should meet in order to become a US citizen. These include:

• Demonstrate that you have good moral character

• Demonstrate knowledge of the English language

• Demonstrate knowledge of US government and history (civics)

• Demonstrate attachment to the principles of the US Constitution

• Take the Oath of Allegiance

As a member of the military, there are certain citizenship requirements that you need not fulfill. It just means that those may not apply to you, including the required periods of residence and physical presence in the US. These exceptions are outlined in sections 328 and 329 of the INA.

If you satisfy all the requirements in either section 328 or 329, you may apply for naturalization under either section. You need not pay any fees for your naturalization application.

Section 328 of the INA:

This section applies to you if you are currently serving in the US Armed Forces or if you have recently separated from service. You may qualify if you:

  • have served honorably, in active duty or reserve service, for a year or more.
  • are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
  • apply while in the service or within six months after being separated.

Section 329 of the INA (Service during Hostilities):

This section applies to you if you are currently serving or a veteran who served in an active-duty status or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve during designated periods of conflict. The designated periods of conflict are:

  • April 6, 1917–November 11, 1918;
  • September 1, 1939–December 31, 1946;
  • June 25, 1950–July 1, 1955;
  • February 28, 1961–October 15, 1978;
  • September 11, 2001–present.

The current period of designation remains in effect until the President issues an Executive Order ending the designation.

You may qualify if you:

  • served honorably in the US Armed Forces during an authorized period of conflict.
  • After enlistment, were lawfully admitted as a permanent resident (green card holder), OR at the time of enlistment, reenlistment, or induction you were physically present in the US or a qualifying area.