United States law includes special citizenship provisions for individuals who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Those who meet the qualifications may not have to follow some of the strict requirements that apply to others in Wheaton seeking citizenship through the naturalization process.
Eligibility for Wheaton naturalization through military duty depends on a number of factors. The process of applying for naturalization differs for those currently serving in the military and members who have been honorably discharged, so it is important to pay attention to the applicable rules in each situation. Working with a dedicated legal professional could afford you the opportunity of no mistakes when applying for naturalization.
Current and former service members seeking naturalization through military service in Wheaton need to submit a Certification of Military or Naval Service as part of their application package to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Those currently serving may initiate the request for this certification through the designated USCIS liaison at their military installation. Working through the chain of command, current service members should submit a Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service.
Those who are no longer serving in the armed forces should submit a copy of their DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge for Active Duty, along with a Form N-426. The N-426 form does not need to be certified. Individuals who served in the National Guard will file NGB Form 22 in lieu of DD Form 214. The applicant should mail these forms to the USCIS office in Chicago.
During the review of the application, USCIS conducts security checks using fingerprints and other information. Applicants seeking citizenship through military duty also need to submit the N-400 Application for Naturalization Form just like other applicants seeking citizenship.
Sections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), which are found in the U.S. Code at 8 U.S.C. §§1439 & 1440, specify different qualifications to obtain naturalization through military service depending on the timing of that service.
If the individual seeking citizenship served in the armed forces during peacetime, then the eligibility requirements of Section 328 (8 U.S.C. §1439) apply. Individuals who currently serve or who served during periods of “hostility” derive their eligibility from the requirements listed in Section 329 of the INA (8 U.S. C. §1440). Periods of hostility include:
It is possible to obtain posthumous citizenship on the basis of military service.
Those in the armed forces during peacetime must have served for at least a year. By contrast, those serving during periods of hostility may have served for any amount of time, so long as any separation from service was honorable.
Applicants who served during peacetime must be lawful permanent residents at the time they apply for naturalization, while those serving during hostilities do not necessarily have to be admitted as permanent residents so long as they are physically present in the U.S. or certain territories at the time of their enlistment or induction. Regardless of the period of service, all applicants seeking citizenship through military duty must meet general requirements such as demonstration of good moral character and knowledge of U.S. government.
The rules regulating eligibility for citizenship through service in the armed forces and the process of applying can be difficult to discern because they are spread out among provisions of the U.S. Code, Executive Orders issued by various presidents, and federal regulations, including those promulgated by USCIS. Many applicants find it helpful to consult a knowledgeable immigration lawyer for help with the application process, determining eligibility, or investigating delays.
Wheaton naturalization through military duty could enable a current or former member of the armed services to become a citizen even if he or she does not meet all the usual standards, such as certain residency obligations or permanent resident status requirements. Further information may be obtained from USCIS or a Wheaton immigration attorney.