Citizenship for Military Members and Family
Can I become a U.S. citizen faster through serving in the Military?
Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and their dependents may be eligible for faster citizenship under special provisions of law. There are various immigration laws currently in place to help you and your family members gain U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
For more information on how your time in the military can affect your naturalization process, please our experienced citizenship lawyers in Los Angeles for a free consultation.
What are the requirements to obtain U.S. citizenship through the Military?
If you served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for one year at any time, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization, which is sometimes referred to as “peacetime naturalization". While some of the general naturalization requirements apply to qualifying members or veterans of the U.S. armed forces seeking to naturalize based on one year of service, other requirements may not apply or are reduced.
Read about the exemptions and accommodations for U.S. Naturalization.
To be eligible, you must establish that you:
Are 18 years of age or older
must have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for at least one year
must be a lawful permanent resident (LPR) at the time of examination on the naturalization application.
must meet certain residence and physical presence requirements.
must demonstrate an ability to understand English including an ability to read, write, and speak English.
must demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government.
must demonstrate good moral character for at least five years prior to filing the application until the time of his or her naturalization.
must have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law.
Can my naturalization application be expedited during military hostilities?
If you are a conditional permanent resident and is eligible to naturalize on the basis of military service during hostilities without being a legal permanent resident, based on being in the United States during enlistment or induction, your application can be expedited. There are certain applications and petitions that are usually required from you that will be waived.
Read about expedited U.S. Naturalization without physical presence in the U.S.
For questions about how you can get your Application for Naturalization approved faster due to your service in the military during hostilities, contact our Los Angeles immigration attorneys now.
U.S. Citizenship for Spouses and Children of Military Service Members
If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is also a member of the U.S. armed forces, you may be eligible for expedited naturalization or for overseas processing. However, your spouse must be currently deployed or will be deployed. Certain spouses may be eligible for expedited naturalization in the United States. If so, the requirement to establish any prior period of residence or specified period of physical presence within the United States may be waived. Children of U.S. citizen military members deployed abroad may be eligible for overseas processing. For expert legal counsel from Los Angeles Immigration lawyers, contact JCS Immigration and Visa for a free initial consultation.
If my spouse is a military service member and I am applying for naturalization, do I have to prove that my spouse is a U.S. citizen?
If you are the spouse of a service member who has been a legal permanent resident for five years and are applying for naturalization through the general provision, then you do not need to establish that the service member spouse is a U.S. citizen. If you are no longer married to a service member at the time of filing, you may still meet the residence and physical presence requirements if the legal permanent resident was married to the service member and met all the conditions above during the period of time in question.
If you are the spouse of a service member who has been a legal permanent resident for three years and are applying on the basis of your marriage for three years, you must establish that the service member has been a U.S. citizen for the required period.
Have new USCIS immigration laws have affected naturalization requirements for continuous residence and physical presence for spouses of military service members residing abroad?
New legislation was enacted to permit a spouse or child to count any period of time that he or she was residing abroad with the service member as officially authorized residence and physical presence in the United States, depending on some conditions. Immigration law permits expedited naturalization in the United States for eligible spouses of U.S. citizen service members who are or will be stationed or deployed abroad. No prior period of residence or specified period of physical presence within the United States is required by the law for any legal permanent resident spouse of a U.S. citizen who is an employee of the United States Government (including a member of the U.S. armed forces) or recognized nonprofit organization who is stationed abroad in such employment for at least one year.
Read more about expedited naturalization without physical presence in the U.S. here.
Due to the complexity of immigration law, seeking expert legal counsel may be to your benefit. We can offer you dedicated experienced legal counsel at JCS Immigration and Visa. To schedule an initial telephone or an in-person consultation with an experienced citizenship or immigration lawyer, call or email us now.
U.S. Naturalization Options for Surviving Spouses and Children of Military Members
When a U.S. citizen dies during a period of honorable service and while he or she is in an active duty status in the U.S. armed forces, there may be some immigration benefits still available to the surviving family members. The surviving spouse, child, or parent may be eligible for naturalization. Special immigration benefits are given and the sacrifice made by the family is taken into consideration in the processing of their applications for permanent residence or for classification as an immediate relative.