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Citizenship Through Military Service

Citizenship Through Military Service

Members of the Armed Forces are allowed to naturalize under liberalized rules. To qualify the applicant must have served honorably for three years in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

If the application is filed within 6 months of honorable discharge, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence before the application is filed; and
  • Must not have been discharged under less than honorable conditions.

There are no physical presence or residence requirements. There is no requirement to show good moral character for any particular period of time.

If the application is not filed within six months of honorable discharge, the applicant must show, in addition to the above:

  • Five years of residence, however military service during the preceding five years shall be considered as residence and physical presence.

If the applicant served during a war or period of military hostilities, there are even more relaxed requirements. The applicant must demonstrate:

  • That he or she served during a designated period of war or hostility;
  • That he or she was an alien or national during the time of active service;
  • That he or she was discharged honorably; and
  • That he or she must have been enlisted in the U.S. or a U.S. territory or have been lawfully admitted to permanent residence.

There is no residency or physical presence requirement and the good moral character requirement is “at least one year.”


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