Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background
Service members, certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and certain military family members may be eligible to become citizens of the United States  under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), to include expedited and overseas processing.
There are general requirements and qualifications that an applicant for naturalization must meet in order to become a U.S. citizen. These general requirements include:
Good Moral Character (GMC);
Residence and physical presence in the U.S.;
Knowledge of the English language;
Knowledge of U.S. government and history; and
Attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
The periods of residence and physical presence in the United States normally required for naturalization may not apply to military members and certain military family members. In addition, qualifying children of military members may not need to be present in the United States to acquire citizenship. Finally, qualifying members of the military and their family members may be able to complete the entire process from overseas.
Military members and their families may call the Military Help Line for assistance: 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645).
Special naturalization provisions for members of the U.S. armed forces date back at least to the Civil War.  Currently, the special naturalization provisions provide for expedited naturalization through military service during peacetime  or during designated periods of hostilities.  In addition, some provisions benefit certain relatives of members of the U.S. armed forces.
As of March 6, 1990, citizenship may be granted posthumously to service members who died as a direct result of a combat-related injury or disease.  Before this legislation, posthumous citizenship could only be granted through the enactment of private legislation for specific individuals.
Congress and the President have continued to express interest in legislation to expand the citizenship benefits of non-U.S. citizens serving in the military since the events of September 11, 2001. Legislation to benefit service members and their family members has increased considerably since 2003.
On July 3, 2002, then President, George W. Bush, officially designated by Executive Order the period beginning on September 11, 2001 as a “period of hostilities.” The Executive Order triggered immediate naturalization eligibility for qualifying service members.
At the time of the designation, the Department of Defense (DOD) and legacy INS announced that they would work together to ensure that military naturalization applications would be processed expeditiously. USCIS adjudication procedures for military naturalization applications reflect that commitment.
On November 24, 2003, Congress enacted legislation  to:
Reduce the period of service required for military naturalization based on peacetime service from three years to one year. 
Add service in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve during periods of hostilities as a basis to qualify for naturalization. 
Expand the immigration benefits available to the spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens who die from injuries or illnesses resulting from or aggravated by serving in combat. These benefits extend to such relatives of service members who were granted citizenship posthumously.
Waive fees for naturalization applications based on military service during peacetime or during periods of hostilities. 
Permit naturalization processing overseas in U.S. embassies, consulates, and military bases for members of the U.S. armed forces. 
Efforts since the 2003 legislation have focused on further streamlining procedures or extending immigration benefits to immediate relatives of service members.
On January 28, 2008, Congress amended existing statutes to allow residence abroad to qualify as “continuous residence” and “physical presence” in the United States for a spouse or child of a service member who is authorized to accompany the service member by official orders and is residing abroad with the service member. 
Under certain conditions, a spouse or child of a service member may count any period of time that he or she is residing (or has resided) abroad with the service member as residence and physical presence in the United States. This legislation also prescribes that such a spouse or child may be eligible to have any or all of their naturalization proceedings conducted abroad. Before this legislation, the law only permitted eligible service members to participate in naturalization proceedings abroad.
INA 284(b) limits the circumstances under which the lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or child is considered to be seeking admission to the United States. This means that the spouse or child will not be deemed to have abandoned or relinquished his or her LPR status while residing abroad with the service member. The provision ensures reentry into the United States by LPR spouses and children whose presence abroad might otherwise be deemed as abandonment of LPR status.
INA 319(e) allows certain LPR spouses to count any qualifying time abroad as continuous residence and physical presence in the United States and permits eligible spouses to naturalize overseas.
INA 322(d) allows the U.S. citizen parent of a child filing for naturalization to count time abroad as physical presence and allows the child to naturalize overseas.
On June 26, 2008, Congress mandated that USCIS use enlistment fingerprints or previously submitted USCIS fingerprints to satisfy the naturalization background check requirements unless a more efficient method is available. 
On October 9, 2008, Congress amended existing statutes to mandate USCIS to process and adjudicate naturalization applications filed under certain military-related provisions within six months of the receipt date or provide the applicant with an explanation for why his or her application is still pending and an estimated adjudication completion date. 
8 U.S.C. 1443a – Overseas naturalization for service members and their qualifying spouses and children
5. [^] See INA 329A. See the Posthumous Citizenship for Active-Duty Service Act of 1989, Pub. L. 101-249 (PDF), 104 Stat. 94. Posthumous citizenship under INA 329A was not initiated until 2004 through subsequent legislation, thereby providing substantive benefits to survivors (the amendments were retroactive to 2001). See the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, Pub. L. 108-136, 117 Stat. 1392.
14. [^] This legislation affects naturalization applications under INA 328(a), INA 329(a), INA 329A, INA 329(b), and surviving spouses and children who qualify under INA 319(b), or INA 319(d). See the Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-382, 122 Stat. 4087.
8 CFR 316.5(b)(6) - Residence for certain spouses of military personnel
8 CFR 316.6 - Physical presence for certain spouses of military personnel
8 U.S.C. 1443a - Overseas naturalization for service members and their qualifying spouses and children
INA 284 - Applicability to members of the armed forces
Legislation Assisting Military Members and their Families Obtain Immigration Benefits
Appendix: Legislation Assisting Military Members and their Families Obtain Immigration Benefits
The table below provides some of the major legislative amendments that have aimed at assisting qualified military personnel and their eligible family members to become U.S. citizens or to acquire other immigration benefits, or both.
Act of May 9, 1918 (40 Stat. 512)
Modifications of 1918 Act 
Second War Powers Act of March 27, 1942 (amending Nationality Act of 1940)
Legislation of December 7, 1942 (amending Nationality Act of 1940)
Act of June 1, 1948; Immigration and Nationality Act
Lodge Act, June 30, 1950 (64 Stat. 316)
Korean Hostilities; Act of June 30, 1953 (Pub. L. 86)
Vietnam Hostilities Act of October 24, 1968 (82 Stat. 1343)
Grenada 15 Executive Order 12582 (February 2, 1987) 
Naturalization of Natives of the Philippines (WWII Service), Sec. 405 of Pub. L. 101-649
Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act of 2000
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. L. 108-136)
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Pub. L. 110-181)
Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act (KFCAA) (Pub. L. 110-251)
Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act (MPCPA) (Pub. L. 110-382)
1. [^] See Application of Campbell, 5 F.2d 247 (E.D. Wash. 1925). See Op. Sol. of Labor, Jan, 1926, CO file 79/9.
2. [^] See Acts of July 19 and November 6, 1919, May 26, 1926, March 4, 1929, May 25, 1932, June 24, 1935, August 23, 1937, June 21, 1939, December 7, 1942.
3. [^] See Executive Order 12582, signed on February 2, 1987 (52 FR 3395, February 4, 1987). In consideration of Matter of Reyes, 910 F. 2d 611 (9th Cir. 1990), Executive Order 12582 was revoked by Executive Order 12913, effective February 2, 1987, (59 FR 23115, May 4, 1994).
4. [^] See Sec. 1703 of PL 108-136.
5. [^] See Sec. 673 of PL 110-181.
Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy ManualMay 21, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk between the AFM and the Policy Manual.
Technical Update - Implementation of Policy Guidance on Defining “Residence” in Statutory Provisions Related to CitizenshipOctober 29, 2019
This technical update incorporates into Volume 12 the policy guidance that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced August 28, 2019 addressing requirements for “residence” in statutory provisions related to citizenship. This guidance became effective October 29, 2019.
Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”October 08, 2019
This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].
POLICY ALERT - Defining “Residence” in Statutory Provisions Related to CitizenshipAugust 28, 2019
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address requirements for “residence” in statutory provisions related to citizenship, and to rescind previous guidance regarding children of U.S. government employees and members of the U.S. armed forces employed or stationed outside the United States. This guidance becomes effective October 29, 2019.
Technical Update - Clarifying Designated Periods of Hostilities for Naturalization under INA 329December 13, 2016
This technical update clarifies that, for purposes of naturalization under INA 329, the current period designated by Presidential Executive Order 13269 (July 3, 2002), as a period in which the U.S. armed forces are considered to be engaged in armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, is still in effect. In addition, this update adds information about the USCIS Military Help Line in this part.
POLICY ALERT - Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy GuidanceJanuary 07, 2013
USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.