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Military service members may qualify for U.S. citizenship

Immigrants in Pennsylvania who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces may qualify for U.S. citizenship. When a military service member qualifies for this type of naturalization, the usual requirements can be waived or abridged in their case.

Although naturalization of U.S. armed service members is often referred to as 'peacetime naturalization", the country is officially in a period of hostility that began on Sept. 11, 2001. During periods of hostility, many of the usual requirements for the naturalization of military service members do not apply. For instance, a military service member may complete the naturalization process even if they are not a permanent resident of the United States. The applicant would also only be required to serve honorably in the U.S. armed forces for one day instead of one year.

Immigrants who may qualify for this kind of naturalization include members or veterans of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard. Members or veterans of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or certain sections of the National Guard may also be able to apply. Like other forms of naturalization, the applicant must have the ability to speak, write and read in English. Knowledge of U.S. history and government as well as a respect for the principles in the U.S. Constitution is also required of the applicant.

A military service member or veteran who would like to become a U.S. citizen may have a greater chance of success with the help of an immigration attorney. Although there are currently fewer requirements for naturalization of service members, an applicant must still be cognizant of all of them. An attorney may be able to help an applicant to gather all of the appropriate documentation to complete the naturalization application.

Source: US CIS, "Citizenship for Military Members", December 03, 2014

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