Military Naturalization: A Fast Track, but NOT Expedited

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Many believe that joining the US Armed Forces means you quickly become a US Citizen. This belief is both true and false:

  • True: because you do open up new Naturalization Options, Statutes, and Policies that could permit Immediate Naturalization to a US Citizen.
  • False: because Naturalization in the Military seems to have annual changing of its policies, and the processing time is astronomically long compared to Civilian Naturalization Options.

In this article, we will look into what Military Naturalization actually entails.

Eligibility Changes from Military Naturalization and Civilian Naturalization

Generally, to be eligible for Civilian Naturalization, the following are required:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age at time of filing the N-400
  2. Be a Green Card Holder for at least 5 years (Residency may be reduced to 3 years based on Marriage-based Naturalization)
  3. Reside in the same State / USCIS Jurisdiction for 3 months prior to filing the N-400
  4. Continuously Reside in the US for at least 30 months out of the past 5 years or 18 months out of the past 3 years, and residency never had long periods of time outside of the US
  5. Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  6. Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  7. Be a person of good moral character, which included not having crimes occurring within the past 3 or 5 years, or owe taxes to the US Government.

Military Naturalization eligibility reduces the requirements as follows:

In a Time of War:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age at time of filing the N-400
  2. Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  3. Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  4. Be a person of good moral character, which included not having crimes occurring within the past 3 or 5 years, or owe taxes to the US Government.

In Peace Time:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age at time of filing the N-400
  2. Be a Green Card Holder for at least 1 years
  3. Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  4. Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  5. Be a person of good moral character, which included not having crimes occurring within the past 3 or 5 years, or owe taxes to the US Government.

The main difference between Time of War and Peacetime requirements is whether the Service Member Applicant has a Green Card for 1 year, or if that is waived in a time of war.

The Difference in Filing Fee and Processing time

Military Naturalization is exempt from paying the N-400 Filing Fee. However, the processing time can be extremely slow, and has different roadblocks.

In the past, Military Naturalization was expedited and processed within a handful of months and generally completed while in Boot Camp, but that is not the truth any longer.

The first delaying factor is whether and when a Service Member can acquire their Certification of Military or Naval Service (Form N-426).

  • Some branches argue that the service member must appear at their first duty station, where others state you need 1, 2, or 3 years in the service to qualify for Certification of the Military or Naval Service.
  • Finding a service member’s O-6 or Higher to certify the service is also a difficulty, and when the O-6 or Higher is found, it can take countless months for the certification to be performed. Deployments or Training can also delay the O-6 or Higher from certifying.

The second delaying factor is USCIS Processing. Military Naturalization can take many times longer to process than Civilian Naturalization. For example, in North Carolina, the N-400 for a Civilian can take 2 months to process, but the Military Naturalization for an NC Service Member can take 8 to 12 months.

If you have any concerns, you should speak with a local Immigration Attorney. Additionally, you may call Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at (910) 526-0066 or through our Contact Page.

 

Related Post:

How do I check USCIS processing times?

Parole in Place: Immigration Option For An Illegal Spouse, Child, Or Parent Of A Military Member

 

 

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