Certain individuals who served (or are serving) honorably on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces after October 15, 1978 and who, after original lawful enlistment outside the United States, served for a certain period of time through a treaty or agreement that was in effect on October 1, 1991, are authorized to get a green card (permanent residence).
Information on this provision can be found in Section 101(a)(27)(K) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Eligibility For A Green Card As An Armed Forces Member Under These Provisions
You must have originally enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces outside the United States under a treaty or an agreement that was in effect on October 1, 1991 and served for a combined period of time either:
- 12 years and if already separated from service after these 12 years, must have separated only under honorable conditions
- 6 years, if you are now on active duty, and have already reenlisted for a total active duty service obligation of at least 12 years
Additionally, you must meet all the following general conditions:
- You are a national of an independent state that maintains a treaty or agreement allowing nationals of that state to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces each year (currently, this only applies to nationals of the Philippines, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands)
- The executive branch of the Armed Services under which you serve or have served has recommended you for this special immigrant status
- You are admissible to the United States
To obtain a green card, you will need to file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant, with all the required documents that are listed in the form instructions.
If You Live Outside the United States
You will file Form I-360 at the USCIS office overseas or at the U.S. Embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over your current place of residence. For more information, see our Consular Processing page.
If You Live Inside the United States
You may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, either after you file your Form I-360 or at the same time (concurrently) as the Form I-360. For more information, see our Concurrent Processing and Adjustment of Status pages.
The following evidence should be submitted with Form I-485:
- Two passport-style photos
- Form G-325A, Biographic Information, if you are between 14 and 79 years of age
- Copy of government issued photo identification
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable)
- Copy of passport page with admission (entry) stamp (if applicable)
- Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record (if applicable)
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- Applicable fees
- Certified copies of court records (if you have ever been arrested)
- Form I-360 with all required documents, if filing concurrently with (at the same time as) Form I-485
- If not filing concurrently, Form I-360 receipt notice or approval letter (Form I-797 Notice of Action)
Family of Armed Forces Members
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 (known as “derivatives”) may be included on your immigration petition and may file their own Form I-485 also.
Work & Travel Authorization
Generally, when you have a pending Form I-485, it is possible for you to apply for authorization to work in the United States and to seek advance parole (advance permission to travel and be admitted to the United States upon your return). For further information, see the our Work Authorization and Travel Documents pages under Green Card Processes & Procedures.