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Policy changes made regarding green card holders who join the military

Among the desires green card holders here in the U.S. may have is a desire to one day become an American citizen. What routes and options a given permanent resident would have regarding pursuing U.S. citizenship can depend on their circumstances. Immigration lawyers can advise green card holders on what their particular situation would mean for the goals they have. This includes any goals related to U.S. citizenship. They can also assist green card holders with navigating naturalization issues specific to their situation.

When it comes to the naturalization process, one group of green card holders that can receive special treatment are those who are serving in the U.S. military. Receiving a “certification of honorable service” in the military qualifies a permanent resident for expedited naturalization.

There has, however, recently been a police change regarding when a person can receive such a certification.

Previously, a green card holder who entered the U.S military would be eligible for this certification after one day of service. Under the new policy, certification can only be granted after a person finishes basic training and has either been in the reserves for a year or been in active service for 180 straight days.

A change has also been made on when a green card holder can enter basic training. Previously, they could do so as their background check was being conducted. Under the new policy, they have to wait until this check is completed.

Also, under the changed policies, certification will be revoked from green card holders who have already received certification but have not yet had a completed background check.

As one can see, these changes put some delays on how soon after joining up with the U.S. military a green card holder can be eligible for expedited naturalization. One wonders how big of an impact this and the other ramifications of the changes will prove to have on green card holders who join the military.

Source: NPR, “Pentagon Tightens Vetting For Immigrant Service Members,” Mark Katkov, Oct. 18, 2017

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