Becoming a citizen of the United States has many advantages - including the right to vote, run for public office, receive benefits such as Social Security, travel with a U.S. visa, and sponsor the immigration of other family members. In most cases, an individual who wishes to become a citizen of the United States must either live in the nation as a green card holder for at least five years or be married to a United States citizen for at least three years. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), however, contains an allowance for service members.
Foreign nationals who are members of the U.S. military in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and some parts of the National Guard, as well as their spouses, are eligible for streamlined naturalization. Service members can obtain citizenship more quickly and are not required to meet all of the stipulations for citizenship that others must go through. Sections 328 and 329 of the INA describe these exceptions.
Close to 8% of the 1.4 million members of the U.S. military are foreign-born. Respecting their service to this country is a priority of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Immigration and Nationality Act allows the USCIS to ensure expedited naturalization for U.S. service members who wish to become citizens. The INA also permits military members to begin the naturalization process while abroad.
Learn more by talking to the knowledgeable Raleigh immigration attorneys at Gardner Law, PLLC. We can help you understand your rights and options as a member of the United States military or as the spouse of a service member. Contact our North Carolina law office today to set up a time when we can meet and discuss your situation.