Chapter 6 - Members of the U.S. Armed Forces

The Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act of 1991[1] provided special immigrant status to a limited number of noncitizens who have served honorably on active duty status in the U.S. armed forces.

A. Filing

A noncitizen who is a U.S. armed forces enlistee or veteran may file a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) for U.S. armed forces special immigrant status on his or her own behalf. The petitioner must file Form I-360 with the proper fee, according to the form instructions.[2]

B. Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the U.S. armed forces enlistee or veteran classification,[3] the petitioner must establish that:

  • He or she served honorably on active duty after October 15, 1978;

  • He or she lawfully enlisted outside the United States under a treaty or agreement that was in effect on October 1, 1991;[4]

  • The service period or periods of active duty amount to an aggregate of a minimum of 12 years or, in the case of a petitioner currently on active duty, a minimum of 6 years with proof of re-enlistment for the required number of years to incur a total active duty service obligation of 12 years;

  • If now separated from service, he or she was never separated except under honorable conditions; and

  • The executive department under which the petitioner served or serves has recommended the granting of special immigrant status.

C. Documentation and Evidence

The petitioner must submit the following documentation with the petition in order to establish eligibility for the benefit sought:

  • His or her birth certificate which establishes that he or she is a national of an independent state that maintained a treaty or agreement that was in effect on October 1, 1991, and allowed nationals of that state to enlist in the U.S. armed forces;

  • Certified proof of his or her re-enlistment (after 6 years of active duty service), or certification of his or her past active duty status of 12 years, from the appropriate military official (local command level or higher), which certifies that the applicant has the required honorable active duty service and commitment;[5] and

  • A recommendation that the petitioner be granted special immigrant status from the appropriate military official (local command level or higher).[6]

D. Derivative Beneficiaries

A spouse or child accompanying or following to join a principal immigrant who has requested benefits under this section may be accorded the same special immigrant classification as the principal beneficiary.[7]

E. Revocation

If a petitioner ceases to be a qualified enlistee by failing to complete the required active duty service obligation for reasons other than an honorable discharge before being lawfully admitted as a permanent resident or adjusting status to permanent residence, the petition can be automatically revoked.[8] In order to do so, however, USCIS must obtain a current Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Form DD-214) from the appropriate military office to verify that the petitioner is no longer eligible for special immigrant status.[9]

Footnotes


[^ 1] See Pub. L. 102-110 (PDF), 105 Stat. 555 (October 1, 1991).

[^ 2] For current information about filing locations, fees, and other information about how to file, see uscis.gov/i-360.

[^ 3] See INA 101(a)(27)(K) and 8 C.F.R. 245.8

[^ 4] See Volume 7, Adjustment of Status, Part F, Special Immigrant-Based (EB-4) Adjustment, Chapter 8, Members of the U.S. Armed Forces [7 USCIS-PM F.8]. Those eligible under treaties in effect on October 1, 1991, include nationals of the Philippines; the Federated States of Micronesia; the Republic of Palau; and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 

[^ 5] USCIS accepts letters issued by the command under which the petitioner is serving or has served as the certification and recommendation. Such a letter must include all required information: dates of service and place of enlistment, type of discharge (if applicable), and the recommendation of special immigrant status by the authorizing official.

[^ 6] USCIS accepts letters issued by the command under which the petitioner is serving or has served as the certification and recommendation. Such a letter must include all required information: dates of service and place of enlistment, type of discharge (if applicable), and the recommendation of special immigrant status by the authorizing official.

[^ 7] See INA 101(a)(27)(K)(ii)

[^ 8] See INA 205.

[^ 9] See 8 CFR 204.9(f).

Current as of July 26, 2021