Chapter 5 - Application and Filing for Service Members (INA 328 and 329)
This section provides relevant information for applying for naturalization on the basis of military service. Service members should file their applications in accordance with the instructions for the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) and other required forms.
A. Required Forms
An applicant filing for naturalization based on 1 year of honorable military service during peacetime or honorable service during a designated period of hostility must complete and submit all of the following to USCIS:
Application for Naturalization (Form N-400)
The applicant should check the appropriate eligibility option on the Application for Naturalization to indicate the applicant is applying on the basis of qualifying military service. The applicant should file the application in accordance with the form instructions.
If an applicant filing under a different eligibility provision for naturalization has served in the military, the officer should determine if the applicant may be eligible under a qualifying military basis. If the applicant may be eligible based on the military service, the officer should provide the applicant with the opportunity to seek naturalization on that basis.
If the applicant would like to seek naturalization based on their military service but is ultimately determined not to be eligible on that basis, the officer must consider the applicant’s eligibility under the original filing basis before issuing a decision. Regardless of the filing basis, USCIS must conduct a Defense Clearance Investigative Index (DCII) query on all applicants who currently serve or have served in the U.S. military.
Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (Form N-426)
Form N-426 confirms whether the applicant is serving honorably in an active duty status or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. The form may also record whether the applicant has ever obtained a discharge or exemption from military service from the U.S. armed forces on the ground that the applicant is a noncitizen. Only applicants who are currently serving and who are applying under INA 328 or INA 329 are required to submit the form. An applicant applying under a different naturalization provision is not required to submit the form, even if the applicant has prior military service.
The military must complete and certify (sign) the Form N-426 before it is submitted to USCIS. A certifying official must complete and sign the Form N-426 within 6 months of submitting the Form N-400 to USCIS, except in cases where the applicant enlisted in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program before October 13, 2017.
An applicant who is separated or discharged from the military at the time of filing Form N-400 is not required to submit Form N-426.
Applicants who are separated or discharged from the military must submit a photocopy of their Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214), National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22), or other official discharge document for all periods of service. The discharge document must list information on the type of separation and character of service. Such information is typically found on page “Member-4” of DD Form 214 or Block 24 of NGB Form 22.
Applicants who are class members of Calixto, et al., v. U.S. Dep’t of the Army, et al. and are applying for military naturalization with a certified Form N-426 they obtained through the settlement agreement may include a copy of the settlement agreement with their certified Form N-426 and Form N-400 and annotate "Calixto" at the top of both forms.
B. Fee Exemptions
USCIS charges no fees for filing an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) or for biometrics capturing for applications filed under INA 328 or INA 329.
There is no fee for filing a Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Form N-336) for applicants whose naturalization application filed under INA 328 or INA 329 has been denied.
There is no filing fee for current and former service members for an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600).
C. Filing Location and Initial Processing
Like all USCIS benefit requests, naturalization applications filed on the basis of military service should be filed in accordance with the form instructions. For current members of the military and qualifying family members stationed outside of the United States, USCIS determines which field office has jurisdiction over the application. If an applicant resides outside the United States, is no longer serving in the military, and is filing on the basis of military service during hostilities, the USCIS office with jurisdiction over the naturalization application is determined by the applicant’s last residence within the United States or Outlying Possession (OLP).
An applicant currently serving outside of the United States may complete all aspects of the naturalization process, including biometrics, interviews, and oath ceremonies while residing outside of the United States on official orders. The applicant may request overseas processing at any time of the naturalization process.
[^ 1] See INA 328 and INA 329.
[^ 4] See Part I, Military Members and their Families, Chapter 6, Required Background Checks [12 USCIS-PM I.6].
[^ 5] See Nio, et al. v. United States Department of Homeland Security, et al., Civil Action No. 17-0998 (D.D.C. 2019).
[^ 6] For applicants applying under INA 328, qualifying service in the National Guard is limited to service in the National Guard during such time that the National Guard unit was federally recognized as a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces.
[^ 7] See Calixto, et al., v. U.S. Dep’t of the Army, et al., 1:18-cv-01551 (D.D.C. Sep. 22, 2022).
[^ 8] See Chapter 3, Military Service During Hostilities (INA 329), Section G, Department of Defense Military Accessions Vital to National Interest Program [12 USCIS-PM 3.G].
[^ 9] For applicants filing online, annotate "Calixto" only on top of Form N-426. Including this will assist USCIS in identifying class members and allow for more efficient processing.
[^ 10] See USCIS Fee Schedule Final Rule (75 FR 58962, Sept. 24, 2010).
[^ 11] See USCIS Fee Schedule Final Rule (75 FR 58962, Sept. 24, 2010).
[^ 12] See INA 328 and INA 329.
[^ 13] See the Overseas Processing webpage for additional information on where to file.
[^ 15] For applicants whose last residence was in an OLP, see the USCIS Field Office Locator to determine jurisdiction. For more information, see Chapter 3, Military Service during Hostilities (INA 329), Section H, Veterans Residing Outside of the United States [12 USCIS-PM I.3(H)].
[^ 16] See 8 U.S.C. 1443a.