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Serving in the US Army is indeed one of the fastest ways to obtain citizenship. But is it that simple?
Through Military Service
A person who has served in the US Armed Forces for one year is indeed eligible for accelerated citizenship. However, the whole difficulty lies in the fact that you still need to get into the army. Only US citizens or permanent residents are taken there. In addition, the service contract is concluded for a period of 2 to 6 years. In general, this method cannot be called simple. And in order to demonstrate how difficult it is, below we will tell you who and how can join the US Armed Forces.
Who Can Enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces
Immigration to the United States through military service is a myth. A US citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) can enlist in the US Armed Forces. It can be either a man or a woman (with some exceptions) between the ages of 17 and 42, who have no criminal record, but have secondary education and good physical fit.
The United States has 5 branches of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), and each has its own age limit. For example, people are taken into the army from 17 to 42 years old, and into the air force – only up to 27. University students can serve in the reserve.
Service in the US Army: Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Proceed
Step 1. Take a test and find a recruiter
To understand if you are suitable for serving in the US Army, you can take a preliminary test on the official website, download its results and contact a recruiter with them. However, this procedure can be bypassed: go directly to the recruiter and deal with him already.
Each branch of the armed forces has its own recruiters. Recruiters will check if you are eligible for military service (age, educational level, physical performance, criminal record and marital status) and will offer you a preliminary computer aptitude test.
Step 2. The necessary documents
The recruiter will provide you with a list of required documents and help you collect them if necessary.
These documents are:
- proof of citizenship (if you were not born in the United States);
- social security card;
- valid driving license or identification (ID);
- bank statement;
- originals or certified copies of marriage or divorce documents, court order on separation of spouses (if necessary);
- originals or certified copies of birth certificates of children under the age of 18; statements from parents; documents on the payment of alimony (if necessary);
- if married to a member of the army, provide his name, social security number, and military address;
- copies of the lease agreement (if necessary);
- originals or certified copies of ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) documents (if necessary);
- originals of educational documents.
Step 3. Take the ASVAB test
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is designed to highlight your strengths and determine which military professions are best for you. The test will include questions in science, mathematics, mechanics, electronics, etc.
Step 4. A physical examination
You should know that there are also requirements for your height, weight and percentage of body fat. You can find out if you meet the required parameters using a special calculator on the website.
Step 5. Choose a specialization
After successfully passing the test and passing a medical examination, you can choose one of the army specialties (there are about 150 of them). Then you sign a contract for a specific period. The length of service depends on the specialties and type of the armed forces and varies from 2 to 6 years.
Step 6. Training course and start of service
Before you go to learn the basics of combat training, you will need to take an oath. Then you will be sent to basic combat training. The course will consist of several phases and will last about 10 weeks (more in some troops). After that, you will be taken to your first base and start serving in the army. Meals and lodging are financed by the armed forces. You will also receive wages.
Obtaining US Citizenship Through Military Service
You can submit the documents necessary for obtaining citizenship directly at the place of service (usually in the personnel department or in the office of the chief military prosecutor). Such documents include an application for naturalization (Form N-400) and an application for certification of service at a military or naval base (Form N-426).
Moreover, the latter must be attested. After the package of documents is ready, it will be sent to a specialized naturalization unit for military personnel of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to begin the accelerated procedure for obtaining citizenship. In about 6-8 months, you will already be a US citizen.