Military Naturalization Brochure (PDF format)
If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship under special provisions provided for in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Generally, service in the U.S. Armed Forces means service in one of the following branches:
- Marine Corps,
- Air Force,
- Coast Guard,
- Certain Reserve components of the National Guard, and
- Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
Recent changes in the relevant sections of the INA (Sections 328 and 329) make it easier for qualified military personnel to become U.S. citizens if they choose to file a naturalization application.
In addition, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a streamlined process specifically for military personnel serving in active-duty status or recently discharged.
This brochure provides you with some basic information about the laws that govern citizenship for military personnel and the process you should follow to begin your journey to citizenship.
Do You Qualify?
There are general requirements and qualifications that must be met in order for you to become a US citizen. These include:
- Demonstrating that you have good moral character
- Demonstrating knowledge of the English language
- Demonstrating knowledge of U.S. government and history ("civics"), and
- Demonstrating attachment to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
As a member of the military there are other naturalization requirements that you may be excepted from, including the required residency and physical presence in the United States. These exceptions are outlined in Sections 328 and 329 of the INA.
Section 328, INA
This section applies to all members currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or those who have already been discharged from service.
- Have you served honorably for a total of one or more years?
- Are you a lawful permanent resident?
- Will you be filing your application for naturalization while still in service or within six months of being discharged?
Section 329, INA
This section applies to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who serve in active-duty status during authorized periods of conflict as outlined in the INA or any additional period designated by the President in an Executive Order.*
* Recently, the President signed an Executive Order identifying September 11, 2001 and after as an authorized period of conflict.
- Have you served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces during an authorized period of conflict?
- After enlistment, were you lawfully admitted as a permanent resident of the United States, OR at the time or enlistment, reenlistment, or induction were you physically present in the United States or qualifying territory?
Changes on October 1, 2004
Recent legislation has called for additional benefits to members of the military. These benefits will go into effect on October 1, 2004.
- No fees will be charged when you file for naturalization.
- The naturalization process will be made available overseas to members of the Armed Forces at US embassies, consulates, and where practical, military installations abroad.
If You Qualify.
Every military installation should have a designated point-of-contact to handle your application and certify your Request for certification of Military or Naval Service (N-426). You should inquire through your chain of command to find out who this person is, so they can help you with your application packet.
Your point-of-contact will send your N-400, G325B, and certified N-426 to:
The Nebraska Service Center
PO Box 87426
Lincoln, NE 68501-7426
The Service Center will review your application and perform the necessary security checks. Then, they will send it to the district office closest to your location. If you have a preference as to where you would like to be interviewed, you can provide that information in a cover letter attached to your naturalization packet. The district office will set a date to interview you and test your knowledge of English and Civics. If granted, USCIS will inform you of the date you can take your oath of allegiance.
Forms you will need to complete and submit:
Forms and Handbooks
To get these forms, you can call the USCIS Form Line at: 1-800-870-3676 to request the "Military Packet" and obtain a copy of the handbook, "A Guide to Naturalization" or visit the website www.uscis.gov
Spouses of US Citizens Deployed Abroad
If you are married to a U.S. citizen who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and your citizen spouse is or will be deployed abroad by the Armed Forces for one year, you may be eligible for expedited naturalization under section 319(b) of the INA. For more information, please refer to the USCIS Guide to Naturalization (page 22) at http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/English.pdf.
The INA allows for the awarding of posthumous citizenship to active-duty military personnel who die while serving in the armed forces. In addition, surviving family members seeking immigration benefits are given special consideration. To learn more, contact your military point-of-contact or the local district USCIS office.