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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 aliens who have served honorably on active duty status in the U.S. armed forces.

A. Filing

An alien 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 alien.[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).

Resources

Legal Authorities

8 CFR 204.5 - Petitions for employment-based immigrants

8 CFR 204.9 - Special immigrant status for certain aliens who have served honorably (or are enlisted to serve) in the Armed Forces of the United States for at least 12 years

INA 101(a)(27) - Definitions of certain special immigrants

INA 201 - Worldwide level of immigration

INA 202 - Numerical limitations on individual foreign states

INA 203 - Allocation of immigrant visas

INA 203(b)(4) - Certain special immigrants

INA 204(a)(1)(G)(i) - Petitioning procedure

INA 2048 CFR 204 - Procedure for granting immigrant status

Pub. L. 109-163 (PDF) - Section 1059 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, as amended – Special immigrant status for persons serving as translators with U.S. armed forces

Pub. L. 110-181 (PDF) - Section 1244 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, as amended – Special immigrant status for certain Iraqis

Pub. L. 111-8 (PDF) - Section 602(b), Title VI of the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009

Appendices

No appendices available at this time.

Updates

Technical Update - Incorporating Existing Guidance into the Policy Manual

This technical update is part of an initiative to move existing policy guidance from the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) into the Policy Manual. This update does not make major substantive changes but consolidates and incorporates existing AFM guidance into the Policy Manual, streamlining USCIS’ immigration policy while removing obsolete information. This guidance replaces Chapters 22.3 and 26 of the AFM, related appendices, and policy memoranda.

Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

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 (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

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”].