Every year, thousands of resident aliens who have served in the United States military become U.S. citizens. If you are a military member living in New Jersey, you and your family may have a fast track to becoming American citizens thanks to your military service.
Advantages of citing military service for citizenship
Military service can speed up the citizenship process and save money on processing fees. Instead of the normal five years of U.S. residency, or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen, military service will allow you to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, after only one year. You also don’t need to reside in the state where you file your application. Application, fingerprinting, and all other associated fees are waived, saving you a lot of money. Some spouses and dependents may also qualify for the expedited process but will have to pay application fees.
Steps toward naturalization and citizenship
Many military bases have a designated liaison to help you through the citizenship process. You must follow these six steps when applying:
- Check eligibility via the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet
- Have Form N-426 completed by your chain of command
- Complete Form N-400
- Provide your biometrics
- Complete an in-person interview with an immigration officer
- Attend the oath ceremony
Adjusting your immigration status
Even though you may have a fast track through the military, adjusting your immigration status can still be complicated. Many military installations have resources and personnel that you can consult with questions about your forms.
You’ll also face some slightly different requirements for your spouse, children and other family members who want to permanently reside in the United States and become U.S. citizens. There are a number of immigration resources available for each family member who wants to become a U.S. citizen.