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Chapter 3: Military Service during Hostilities (INA 329)


A. General Eligibility through Military Service during Hostilities


Members of the U.S. armed forces who serve honorably for any period of time during specifically designated periods of hostilities may be eligible to naturalize.[1] See INA 329. In 2009, the DOD authorized the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) pilot program as a recruitment pilot to enlist certain foreign nationals with skills considered to be “vital to national interest.” The pilot program applies to certain health care professionals and individuals fluent in certain foreign languages. A MAVNI enlistee may apply for naturalization upon enlistment. See the DOD MAVNI program fact sheet for further details. One day of qualifying service is sufficient in establishing eligibility. 


The applicant must establish that he or she meets all of the following criteria in order to qualify: 


  • The applicant may be of any age.


  • The applicant must have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during a designated period of hostility.


  • The applicant must either be an LPR or have been physically present at the time of enlistment, reenlistment, or extension of service or induction into the U.S. armed forces:

    • In the United States or its outlying possessions, including the Canal Zone, American Samoa, or Swains Island, or

    • On board a public vessel owned or operated by the United States for noncommercial service.


  • The applicant must be able to read, write, and speak basic English.


  • The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government.


  • The applicant must demonstrate good moral character for at least one year prior to filing the application until the time of his or her naturalization.


  • The applicant must 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.


An applicant who files on the basis of military service during hostilities is exempt from the general naturalization requirements of continuous residence and physical presence.[2] See INA 329(b). See 8 CFR 329.2(e).


B. Honorable Service


Qualifying military service is honorable service in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or active duty service in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard. Service in a National Guard Unit may also qualify.[3] See Section C, National Guard Service. 


Honorable service means only service in the U.S. armed forces that is designated as honorable service by the executive department under which the applicant performed that military service.


Both “Honorable” and “General-Under Honorable Conditions” discharge types qualify as honorable service for immigration purposes. Other discharge types, such as “Other Than Honorable,” do not qualify as honorable service.


C. National Guard Service


An applicant filing on the basis of military service during hostilities[4] See INA 329. who has National Guard service may qualify if he or she has honorable service in either the U.S. armed forces or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.[5] See 8 CFR 329.1. See 10 U.S.C. 10143 for more information on Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. USCIS does not require proof of federal activation for a National Guard applicant if the applicant served in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve during a designated period of hostility.[6] The National Guard and Reserve service requirements under INA 329 differ from those under INA 328. See Chapter 2, One Year of Military Service during Peacetime (INA 328), Section C, National Guard Service. 


D. Designated Periods of Hostilities


The INA and Presidential Executive Orders have designated the following military engagements and ranges of dates as periods of hostilities.


Designated Periods of Hostilities

World War I

April 6, 1917

November 11, 1918

World War II

September 1, 1939

December 31, 1946

Korea

June 25, 1950

July 1, 1955

Vietnam

February 28, 1961

October 15, 1978

Persian Gulf

August 2, 1990

April 11, 1991

Enduring Freedom

September 11, 2001

Present


The current period starting on September 11, 2001 will continue to be considered a designated period of hostilities until the President issues an Executive Order to terminate the designation.


E. Eligibility as Permanent Resident or if Present in United States at Induction or Enlistment


In general, an applicant who files on the basis of military service during hostilities[7] See INA 329. is not required to be an LPR if he or she was physically present at the time of induction, enlistment, reenlistment, or extension of service in the U.S. armed forces: 


  • In the United States, the Canal Zone, American Samoa, or Swains Island; or

  • On board a public vessel owned or operated by the United States for noncommercial service.


In addition, an applicant who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence after enlistment or induction is also eligible for naturalization under this provision regardless of the place of enlistment or induction.


F. Conditional Permanent Residence and Naturalization during Hostilities


If the applicant is a conditional permanent resident and is eligible to naturalize on the basis of military service during hostilities[8] See INA 329. without being an LPR based on being in the United States during enlistment or induction, the applicant is not required to file or have an approved Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) before his or her Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) may be approved.





Footnotes


1. [^] 

 See INA 329. In 2009, the DOD authorized the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) pilot program as a recruitment pilot to enlist certain foreign nationals with skills considered to be “vital to national interest.” The pilot program applies to certain health care professionals and individuals fluent in certain foreign languages. A MAVNI enlistee may apply for naturalization upon enlistment. See the DOD MAVNI program fact sheet for further details.

2. [^] 

 See INA 329(b). See 8 CFR 329.2(e).

4. [^] 

 See INA 329.

5. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 329.1. See 10 U.S.C. 10143 for more information on Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.

6. [^] 

 The National Guard and Reserve service requirements under INA 329 differ from those under INA 328. See Chapter 2, One Year of Military Service during Peacetime (INA 328)Section C, National Guard Service.

7. [^] 

 See INA 329.

8. [^] 

 See INA 329.



Resources


Legal Authorities
INA 329, 8 CFR 329 - Naturalization through military Service during hostilities



Updates


Date Details
January 7, 2013
POLICY ALERT

Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

​USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.

Read more »


Current as of April 8, 2014