Serving in the U.S. Army is indeed one of the fastest ways to gain citizenship. But is it that easy? Read about how to get U.S. citizenship after serving in the U.S. military in the article below!
American Citizenship Through Military Service
A person who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces for one year (or immediately if the service is in a combat zone) does qualify for accelerated citizenship. However, the difficulty is that one still needs to get into the army. And only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are taken there. In addition the service contract is for 2 to 6 years. In general, this method is not simple. To demonstrate how complicated it is, below we will tell you who and how can enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Who Can Join the U.S. Armed Forces
Immigration to the United States through military service is a myth. A U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) can enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. It can be both male and female (with some exceptions) between the ages of 17 and 42, have no criminal record, but have a high school education and good physical training.
There are five branches of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), and each has a different age requirement. For example, the army takes people from 17 to 42 years old, while the air force only takes people up to 27. University students can serve in the reserves.
Serving in the U.S. Army: Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Enlist
Step 1: Take the Preliminary Test and Find a Recruiter
To understand if you are suitable for service in the U.S. army, you can take a preliminary test on the official website, download the results and ask a recruiter. However, you can bypass this procedure: go directly to a recruiter and deal with him.
Each type of military has its own recruiters. Find the one closest to you here.
Recruiters check your suitability for military service (age, education, physical appearance, criminal record, and marital status) and offer you a preliminary computerized aptitude test.
Step 2: Prepare the necessary documents
The recruiter will provide you with a list of required documents and help you gather them if necessary. These documents include:
- proof of citizenship (if you were not born in the U.S.);
- social security card;
- a valid driver’s license or identification card (ID);
- a bank statement;
- original or certified copies of marriage or divorce papers, or a judicial separation order (if applicable);
- original or authorized copies of birth certificates of children under 18 years of age; statements from parents;
- documents on alimony payments (if required);
- if married to a member of the military, provide his or her name, Social Security number, and military address;
- copies of the rental agreement (if applicable);
- original or certified copies of your ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) credentials (if applicable);
- original educational documents.
Step 3: Take the ASVAB test
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is designed to identify your strengths and determine which military occupations are best suited for you. The test will include questions in science, math, mechanics, electronics, etc.
Step 4: Get a physical exam
Again, your recruiter can help you schedule a physical exam. You should know that there are also requirements for your height, weight and body fat percentage. You can find out if you meet the required parameters by using a special calculator on the website.
Step 5: Choose a specialization
After the successful passing of the test and a medical examination you can choose one of the army specialties (there are about 150 of them). Then you sign a contract for a specified period. The length of service depends on the specialty and type of military forces and varies from 2 to 6 years.
Step 6: Training Course and Start of Service
Before you go to basic combat training you will be required to take the oath of allegiance. Then you will be sent to basic combat training. The course will be in several phases and will last about 10 weeks (in some troops more). After this, you will go to your first base and start serving in the army. Meals and lodging are at the military’s expense. You will also receive a salary.
Obtaining U.S. Citizenship through Military Service
You can apply for citizenship directly at your duty station (usually the personnel office or the office of the Judge Advocate General). These documents are: application for naturalization (Form N-400) and application for certification of service on a military or naval base (Form N-426).
The latter must be witnessed. Once the packet of documents is ready, it will be sent to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Specialized Naturalization Unit to begin the expedited citizenship process. In about 6-8 months you will be a U.S. citizen!