Official Website of the United States Department of Homeland Security

Citizenship for Military Members

Members and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces may be eligible for naturalization through their military service under Section 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  Additionally, the INA provides for posthumous naturalization under section 329A.

For information about citizenship for spouses or children of military members, see the links to the left.

General Requirements & Exceptions

Qualifying military service is generally in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and certain components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. The general requirements for naturalization may be diminished or waived for qualifying service member. 

Naturalization through One Year of Qualifying Service During “Peacetime”

Generally, a person who has served honorably in the U.S. armed forces at any time may be eligible to apply for naturalization under section 328 of the INA. The military community sometimes refers to this as “peacetime naturalization.” 

In general, an applicant for naturalization under Section 328 of the INA must:

  • Be age 18 or older
  • Have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for at least 1 year and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably 
  • Be a permanent resident at the time of examination on the naturalization application
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics)
  • Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years and have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application, UNLESS the applicant has filed an application while still in the service or within 6 months of separation.  In the latter case, the applicant is not required to meet these residence and physical presence requirements.

Naturalization through Qualifying Service during Periods of Hostilities

Generally, members of the U.S. armed forces who serve honorably for any period of time (even 1 day) during specifically designated periods of hostilities (see below) are eligible for naturalization under section 329 of the INA through such military service.

In general, an applicant for naturalization under INA 329 must:

  • Have served honorably in active-duty status, or as a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, for any amount of time during a designated period of hostilities and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably 
  • Have been lawfully admitted as a permanent resident at any time after enlistment or induction, OR have been physically present in the United States or certain territories at the time of enlistment or induction (regardless of whether the applicant was admitted as a permanent resident)
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics)
  • Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
  • Have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law

There is no minimum age requirement for an applicant under this section. The designated periods of hostilities are:

  • April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
  • September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946
  • June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955
  • February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978
  • August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991
  • September 11, 2001 until the present

The current designated period of hostilities starting on September 11, 2001, will terminate when the President issues an Executive Order terminating the period.

Note: current members of the U.S. armed forces who qualify for naturalization under sections 328 or 329 of the INA can proceed with their naturalization application either in the United States or overseas.

Application Processing  

Service members are not charged filing or biometrics fees.  Service members should complete the applications stated below to apply for naturalization:

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (establishes periods of honorable service certified by the military)

Note: Every military installation should have a designated point-of-contact (POC) to handle your application and certify your Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (Form 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.

 The designated POC may assist you with the following:

  • Certification of Form N-426
  • Information about fingerprinting and how to comply with the fingerprinting requirement
  • Submitting the N-400 package to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) at the following address.

The Nebraska Service Center
PO Box 87426
Lincoln, NE 68501-7426

Once your application is received, the NSC will review the application and send it to the USCIS office closest to your location.  If you have a preference as to where you would like to be interviewed, you may provide that information in a cover letter attached to your naturalization packet.

The USCIS office will set a date to interview you to determine your eligibility for naturalization.  If your application for naturalization is approved, USCIS will inform you of the date you can take the oath of allegiance. 

Posthumous Citizenship for Military Members

Generally, individuals who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces and who died as a result of injury or disease incurred while serving in an active duty status during specified periods of military hostilities, as listed above, may be eligible for posthumous citizenship under section 329A of the INA. 

Form N-644, Application for Posthumous Citizenship, must be filed on behalf of the deceased service member within 2 years of his or her death.  If approved, a Certificate of Citizenship will be issued in the name of the deceased veteran establishing posthumously that he or she was a U.S. citizen on the date of his or her death.

For information on survivor benefits for a qualifying service member’s surviving spouse, child, or parent, see “Family Based Survivor Benefits” link to the left.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/22/2010