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How does a military member apply for citizenship?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Immigration

Those wishing to become U.S. citizens have many ways to achieve a change in immigration status. Attaining family and employment-based green cards are common early steps in the process, but they are not the only paths toward naturalization. Texas residents hoping to become citizens could explore options available to veterans. Naturalization through military service is one option sometimes overlooked.

A military career path toward naturalization

Sections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 detail the requirements for armed service members. Among the requirements is one year of duty during peacetime for eligibility. Those who served in an active-duty role during specific “periods of hostility,” such as World War II, also meet the basic eligibility requirement.

A specific process is necessary to apply to become a naturalized citizen after serving in the military. Immigrants must submit Form N-400, the application for naturalization. The document allows the applicant to provide personal and other information required to move forward with the process.

Dealing with USCIS

When submitting forms and other materials to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, applicants can expect someone to review the documents for thoroughness and accuracy. Mistakes or omissions on any applications focusing on immigration status and naturalization could lead to delays. The office could request additional supporting documentation, adding more time to the process. The longer someone waits for naturalization, the longer that individual cannot access rights bestowed upon citizens. For example, only citizens have the right to vote. Lawful permanent residents do not.

An appropriate and timely response helps move things forward when dealing with requests for evidence. Otherwise, the application could end up denied. Failure to respond correctly may not mean the end, as filing an appeal is an option. In some cases, a denial may lead to a hearing for a decision on naturalization. It’s important to remember that options exist even when the process proves more stressful than expected.