If a person has been a permanent resident or green card holder and has been serving, or has served, in the U.S. Military he/she may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
In addition, some of the other requirements for citizenship could be waived based on military service. Also, if one has fought for the U.S. during a period of active hostilities, he/she may be able to apply for citizenship directly without even having been a permanent resident of the U.S.
It is advisable to discuss the immigration pathways with an immigration attorney if you believe that you fall into one of these categories and you could also be eligible for expedited citizenship processing.
Different ways to get U.S. citizenship through military service
There are 3 sections INA 328, INA 329, and INA 329A through which military-based naturalization can occur. If you meet all the requirements under these sections then you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. By applying through these sections you will not have to pay any fees for the application to the USCIS.
Military Service at Any Time for a Period of One Year
By serving in the U.S. military for a total of 1 year or more in a single period or in multiple periods you may apply for Naturalization under section INA 328.
There are other eligibility requirements that need to be met if you are applying under this section. The eligibility requirements differ for people applying for non-military naturalization. Some of the requirements either don’t apply or are reduced.
Military Service During Periods of Hostility
The U.S. designates periods of hostility and if you served or continue to serve during these periods of hostility you might be eligible to apply for naturalization under section INA 329.
Similar to applying for citizenship with 1 year of service time there are eligibility requirements that need to be met for people who served during hostility. A lot of requirements that are applicable to non-military naturalizations either don’t apply or are reduced.
Posthumous Citizenship for Military Members
People who served honorably in an active-duty status during periods of hostilities and died due to an injury or disease because of the military duty may be eligible for posthumous citizenship under section INA 329A.
A person must apply on behalf of the deceased military person for Posthumous Citizenship within two years of their death. Surviving family members such as spouses, children, or parents might be eligible to get immigration benefits based on the posthumous Citizenship of the service person.
Dual Citizenship for Military Person
The U.S. allows people to hold dual citizenship and it is also the case for certain military members. However, officer positions or positions that deal with sensitive information will require the person to renounce their old citizenship.
If you have served or continue to serve in the military and would love to become a U.S. citizen then it is recommended to get the help of an immigration lawyer with your application.