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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:
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:
There is no minimum age requirement for an applicant under this section. The designated periods of hostilities are:
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.
Service members are not charged filing or biometrics fees. Service members should complete the applications stated below to apply for naturalization:
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:
The Nebraska Service Center
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