How to Get U.S. Citizenship Through Military Service: Naturalization Through Military

How to Get U.S. Citizenship Through Military Service: Naturalization Through Military

In the United States, people born in other countries have the option to gain citizenship by serving in the U.S. military. As a member of the U.S. military, you may be eligible for naturalization after serving for one year or more.

What Counts as Service in the U.S. Military?

Foreign nationals born outside of the United States wanting to gain citizenship can take steps toward naturalization by serving in the U.S. Army, National Guard, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. To qualify for citizenship in the United States, you must have served under a military branch for at least one year. Prior to applying for citizenship, you must also obtain a green card. This is a great benefit to foreign nationals, especially considering that non-military individuals are required to wait at least five years before applying for citizenship.

If you have served in the U.S. military but have been discharged, your discharge must have been honorable.


If you meet the requirements listed under the Immigration and Nationality Act, you may apply for naturalization by filing Form N-400. As a member or veteran of the U.S. military, certain requirements may not apply to you. For example, if you are currently an active-duty member, it may not be required that you reside in or are physically present in the U.S. for any length of time before applying for naturalization.

Requirements for United States military members when applying for naturalization are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have served honorably in the U.S. military for a period of time totaling at least one year
  • Have submitted Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service, at the time of also filing Form N-400
  • Be a lawful permanent resident at the time of your naturalization interview
  • Ability to read, write, and speak English
  • Demonstrable basic knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Demonstrable good moral character for at least five years prior to filing Form N-400

Applying for Naturalization

Foreign nationals serving in the U.S. military who wish to become naturalized citizens may reach out to the designated U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) liaisons to assist in the application process. In addition to specific forms required as part of the application process, fingerprinting and an interview are also basic application requirements. Applying for naturalization through military service, however, does not require traditional application fees.

Additional information for current non-citizen U.S. military members and their families can be found in the USCIS Military Members Policy Manual.


The following forms must be filled out completely and submitted to USCIS in order to successfully apply for naturalization:

  • N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (this form must be certified by the military before being sent in)

Contact an Immigration Lawyer Today

The experienced immigration and naturalization attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have over 70 years of combined experience helping people on their path to the United States. If you are a current non-citizen serving in the United States military and would like to become a naturalized citizen, Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. can help. We are here to walk you through the process of becoming a citizen as a member of the U.S. military. Contact us today at 312.444.1940 or by filling out our online contact form.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!