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How does naturalization through military service work?

| Jul 13, 2021 | Immigration Law

If you are an immigrant living in California and serving in the United States military, you can use your service to the best of your advantage. You have the right to become a naturalized citizen through your military service. Learning more information can help you know what steps to take.

How can you meet eligibility to become naturalized through military service?

Per immigration law, serving in the US armed forces as an immigrant makes you eligible to apply for naturalization. You can become a naturalized citizen through special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act or INA.

To apply, you must first meet eligibility criteria. You can file Form N-400 under the section that is relevant to you. As a member of the US military, you don’t have to apply for citizenship any other way. Even if you are on active duty, you don’t have to physically be present in the US for any particular amount of time to apply.

Types of military service

You can apply for naturalization if you honorable served in the US military during peacetime for at least one year. You must meet the following criteria:

  • You submitted Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service when you file your N-400 form demonstrating your honorable service.
  • You were a lawful permanent resident during the time of your naturalization interview.
  • You meet resident and physical presence requirements.
  • You demonstrate knowledge of the history and government of the US.
  • You’ve demonstrated good moral character at least five years prior to filing the N-400 form.
  • You have demonstrated ties with the principles of the US Constitution.

You can apply for naturalization during periods of hostility as well per immigration law. If you served during the following periods, you are eligible:

  • September 1, 1939 – December 31, 1946
  • June 25, 1950 – July 1, 1955
  • February 28, 1961 – October 15, 1978
  • August 2, 1990 – April 11, 1991
  • September 11, 2001 – present

An attorney can help you if you want to become naturalized after serving in the US military. Your rights will be protected and you will be assisted with any steps you need to take.