How to become a US citizen through military service
The top resources to help you on your path.
- Military Life
If you’re looking to become a U.S. citizen through military service or are a veteran or service member wanting to naturalize your dependents, here are the top resources to help you on your path to citizenship. Navigating the naturalization process can be complicated and these tools can help you understand the way ahead.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) Military Resources
The USCIS military resources page is the best place to start when setting off on your citizenship journey. Here are some of their key resources:
- Naturalization through Military Service: If you have served in the U.S. armed forces, either during peacetime or time of war, you may be eligible for naturalization under special circumstances through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- Citizenship for Family Members: Provisions for spouses and children of U.S. service members may qualify them for expedited or automatic citizenship.
- Military Help Line: USCIS has a dedicated helpline for military members and veterans requiring assistance with immigration-related questions Monday through Friday, 8am – 4pm CST. You can call the helpline toll free at 877-CIS-4MIL (877-247-4645, TTY 800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com.
Armed Forces Legal Assistance Office (LAO)
Free general legal services (with some exceptions) are available to service members and their dependents, retired military, and activated National Guard and Reservists.
- Legal Services Locator: If you are stationed in the continental U.S. (CONUS) you can use this tool to search for a LAO near you.
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Military Assistance Program (MAP)
MAP is a partnership between AILA and U.S. military JAG Corps established in 2008. AILA provides pro bono legal assistance to service members with complicated citizenship needs that require help above and beyond what a military LAO can offer.
- Requesting Assistance: AILA MAP will work to match your case with a pro bono immigration attorney if you meet all the following requirements:
- You are an active duty service member or recent veteran (completing service within the past two years);
- You are currently unrepresented by an attorney;
- You hold a rank of E-6 or lower;
- You are requesting immigration assistance for yourself and/or a child, fiancé, spouse, or parent;
- You require immigration assistance for a case that doesn’t involve adoption or serious criminal issues; and
- You have not requested AILA MAP assistance previously.
- Frequently Asked Questions: If you need a little extra help, AILA’s FAQ page is a great place to start.
- USCIS Form N-426: This is a five-page application to verify your military service, which must be signed off by an O-6 or above, or the civilian equivalent, GS-15 or above. You can complete the form electronically or print and mail it in.
- USCIS Form N-400: This is your main citizenship application and must be filled out carefully and thoroughly. It is very important to take your time with this and answer all the questions truthfully and completely.
- Study Materials: In your citizenship interview you’ll get asked basic questions to determine your competency with the English language as well as some basic questions about U.S. civics.
Made possible with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.