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Can joining the military help you get US citizenship?

The Trump administration has tightened citizenship requirements across many different fields. However, there are still some areas where it is possible to receive expedited citizenship. One of these is the U.S. Armed Forces.

Members of the Armed Forces frequently have the opportunity to have their citizenship status accelerated. In fact, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a process designed specifically for military personnel who are seeking citizenship. There are several important details to know about this process.


The citizenship requirements for military members tend to be more relaxed than for the general population. Nevertheless, there are still stringent requirements to meet, particularly since President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration in the United States. Some of these requirements include:

  • Serving in the Armed Forces, including active duty, the reserves or the National Guard
  • Serving honorably for at least one year or being discharged under honorable conditions after at least one year
  • Being a legal permanent resident at the time of application for naturalization
  • Reading, writing and speaking fluent English
  • Demonstrating knowledge of U.S. history and government and showing loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution

Applying as a military member

When you apply for citizenship as a member of the military, the first step is to submit a certification of your honorable military service. This is called Form N-426, and you can obtain it by requesting it through your chain of command. Service members who have already separated from the armed forces have the option of submitting an uncertified Form N-426.

Then, the USCIS will review your application and perform mandated security checks, including fingerprinting. You will meet for an interview with a field officer, who will test your knowledge of American government and history as well as your English language skills. The USCIS will then review your application and decide whether you qualify for citizenship.

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