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Highest reward to the valour and Selfless Service of military personnel

01st June 2011
By Jessica Potter in Immigration Law
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The greatest and most effective way in which one can show their love for their country is by serving in the Armed Forces (be it Army, Navy, Air Force or State Security Forces). A citizen’s patriotism, dedication and strength (mental and physical) are put to a severe test while assuming the role of military personnel. There are several instances wherein non – citizens are also a part of the armed forces.

The selfless sacrifices made by the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are non-U.S. citizen do not go unrecognized. Even their families are given greater concessions in many instances. Citizenship for military personnel is conferred quickly by the USCIS which processes their naturalization applications efficiently and in a timely manner. Without compromising on the integrity and the security of the immigration system, the USCIS provides exemplary service to the military personnel.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for Military Personnel?

Any person serving in one of the following branches belongs to the U.S. Armed Forces

•Marine Corps
•Air Force
•Coast Guard
•National Guard

Citizenship for military personnel is not just conferred based on their service. The individual must have good moral character; possess adequate knowledge of English, US Government and its Constitution. Certain naturalization requirements may not be applicable to military personnel. This includes the required physical presence and periods of residence in the US. Sections 328 and 329 of the INA clearly outline these exceptional circumstances.

INA - Section 328

This is applicable to all members who are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and to those personnel who have recently separated from service. Citizenship for military personnel under this category is granted if they
•Have recorded honorable service, for a period of one year or more
•Are already lawful permanent residents.
•Apply while serving in the armed forces or within six months after
being separated.

INA - Section 329

This is applicable to all members or veterans who served in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or in an active-duty status during conflict periods. Citizenship for military personnel under this category is granted if they
•Have recorded honorable service during conflict period
•Have been lawfully admitted as permanent residents of the US
•Have been physically present in the United States or a qualifying area, at the time of being enlisted, reenlisted, or inducted.
After qualifying with the above eligibility conditions for citizenship for military personnel, the personnel will be intimated of the date when the Oath of Allegiance can be taken by USCIS

Forms required for obtaining Citizenship for Military Personnel

• Application for Naturalization - N-400
• Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service which must be certified by the military before sending it to USCIS. If the applicant is separated from the military, an uncertified Form N-426 with DD Form 214 need to be submitted - N-426

Overseas Processing

Citizenship for military personnel who are commissioned overseas will be conferred in the regular way but the interview and naturalization ceremony will be conducted abroad at specific U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and military installations.

Citizenship for Military Personnel Through Their Parents

The military personnel may have already become US citizens if either of their parents were US citizens by birth or naturalization before they turned 18 years old. Citizenship for military personnel under this case need only to be documented using Form N – 600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship).

Posthumous Citizenship for Military Personnel

This special provision of Section 329A of the INA allows for the granting of posthumous citizenship to military personnel of the US who died in service.

Citizenship for Military Personnel
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