NEWS | April 12, 2016

Immigration opportunities for servicemembers and veterans

By 628th ABW Legal Office

Members and veterans of the US Armed Services may apply for naturalization through Sections 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 

On July 3, 2002, President George W. Bush issued an executive order enacting INA Section 329 authorizing members and veterans of the US Armed Forces (including the US Air Force, US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Coast Guard and the National Guard) who have served honorably on or after September 11, 2001 to apply for citizenship through naturalization. 

There are no minimum service requirements under INA Section 329.  Furthermore, veterans who completed at least one year of honorable service in the US Armed Services, during peacetime, may apply for naturalization under INA Section 328.  Filing fees and biometrics fees are waived for members and veterans under these provisions representing a savings of $680.00.  As an added benefit, the Military Citizenship Processing Act of 2008 provides for the expedited processing of military naturalization applications if certain conditions are met. 

Members who are here serving as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) are highly encouraged to take advantage of these services.  There have been a few cases of military members being deported for violation of laws (some minor) that interrupted their LPR status. 

To find out more about the pathway to citizenship for members and veterans of the US Armed Services, please contact the Joint Base Charleston legal office at (843) 963-5502.  This office has naturalized cardholders and immigrated hundreds of relatives since the Charleston Immigration Program began in 2008.