- I want to become a resident to join the U.S. military. What is the process?
- As a non-citizen joining the U.S. military, do I have the same rights as a citizen?
- I am an immigrant veteran and have served my country in the last 10 years. Can I get deported?
^ I want to become a resident to join the U.S. military. What is the process?
In order for an immigrant such as yourself to join the U.S. military, you must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for some form of visa or a green card (permanent residency). Once this has been done, you can then begin the military enlisting process. Note that the visas or green card must be valid for the entire period of your enlistment.
^ As a non-citizen joining the U.S. military, do I have the same rights as a citizen?
Federal law prohibits granting a security clearance to non-citizens, so unless or until you become a U.S. citizen, you will not be allowed to serve in positions of higher responsibil-ity, such as becoming a commissioned or warrant officer. Jobs in in the intelligence, nuclear, or special ops areas also are also limited. That said, because of the military’s need for linguists, someone with foreign language capabilities can still assist the military in these fields as translators.
^ I am an immigrant veteran and have served my country in the last ten years. Can I get deported?
All veterans and active service members who have a lawful permanent resident status are eligible for expedited naturalization through the Immigration and Nationality Act, but there are many who never completed the process and face deportation if convicted of a crime. This is a particular concern now that Donald Trump has become President.
Previously, the Obama administration prioritized the deportation of people who were violent offenders or had ties to criminal gangs. However, President Trump signed an executive order on January 25, 2017, which expands the priorities to include any undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a criminal offense. As a result, even otherwise law-abiding U.S. military veterans who have not acquired citizenship status are at risk of being deported.
At the time of this writing, various legal challenges to the deportation of non-citizen military veterans are being advanced, so it is best to speak with an immigration attorney if you have concerns.