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Foreign Nationals In The Armed Services
In July 2002, President George W. Bush signed an executive order specifying that foreign nationals who serve in the United States armed forces during a period of hostility would be eligible for expedited U.S. citizenship. The period of hostility began on September 11, 2001, and ends on a date that has yet to be specified by the President.
According to the White House, this executive order has allowed non-citizens to immediately become U.S. citizens. So far, more than 13,000 foreign-born members of the armed forces have applied for U.S. citizenship since the order took effect.
For those foreign nationals who are stationed overseas, the Immigration Services now allows naturalization ceremonies to be held at U.S. military bases, embassies, and consulates around the world. This makes it easier for the foreign-born military personnel to obtain their citizenship quickly.
Under current immigration laws, non-citizens must serve in the U.S. military for at least one year before they are eligible to apply for citizenship. This new executive order, however, will remove the three year service requirement. Additionally, the filing fees associated with an application for naturalization will be waived for those meeting the above-mentioned requirements.
A survey released in May 2006 indicated that there are more than 68,000 foreign-born serving in the armed forces, and this represents approximately 5% of the total on active duty.
From Immigration-Law-Answers-Blog posted 2007-03-06.