How does military service impact a person’s immigration status?

If you are someone who isn’t a U.S. citizen, you probably think that the only way you can become a U.S. citizen is through some complicated immigration process. In general, this is a true — but it’s also true that just because something is complicated doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Plenty of people have fought through the complexities of the immigration system to achieve great things as U.S. citizens.

But there is also another way that someone can attain U.S. citizenship that may not necessarily be at the top of the list of “way to attain citizenship.” It’s through military service.

People who are not citizens can still join the U.S. military, and they can also achieve citizenship — not only for them, but for their family too — by going down this path. This affords them many benefits in addition to the possibility of U.S. citizenship. But what are the requirements for a non-citizen who is in the military to obtain citizenship through the military?

Well, the individual must have a green card, a U.S. residence and proof that the United States is, for all intents and purposes, their home country. The individual must also serve the military for at least one year; or complete their active duty; or, in the worst case, obtain their citizenship posthumously.

Residency, citizenship and many other benefits can then be extended to the family members of a U.S. military member. There are still processes that need to be followed and paperwork to complete, but military service can propel someone (and his or her family) towards U.S. citizenship.

Source: FindLaw, “Military Service & Immigration,” Accessed May 6, 2015