If a foreign national is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and is interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, he or she may be eligible to apply for citizenship under special provisions authorized by former President George W. Bush that added sections 328 and 329 of 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
- Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
The Immigration & Nationality Act makes it easier for a qualified military service member to become a U.S. citizen if he or she chooses to file an application for naturalization.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a streamlined process specifically for military personnel serving in active-duty status or who have recently been discharged.
The general requirements and qualifications that must be met in order for military personnel to become a U.S. citizen are the following:
- Have good moral character;
- Knowledge of the English language;
- Knowledge of U.S. government and history (“civics”), and
- Take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
As an active duty military servicemember, there are other naturalization requirements that are not applicable such as the required residency and physical presence in the United States.