Immigrants in the Military
Since the Revolutionary War, immigrants have been a vital part of the United States military. In fact each year about 8,000 non-citizens enlist in the U.S. armed forces. According to the U.S. Defense Department, there are currently 30,000-plus non-citizens serving on active duty. More than 4,100 of these dedicated soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in all branches of the U.S. military. Since September 2002, USCIS has naturalized over 107,000 members of the military. The top two countries of origin for foreign-born military personnel are the Philippines and Mexico.
Marine General Peter Pace offered the following testimony before Congress about the importance of immigrants in the military:
“[Immigrant soldiers and marines] are extremely dependable … some 8, 9, or 10 percent fewer immigrants wash out of our initial training programs than do those who are currently citizens. Some 10 percent or more than those who are currently citizens complete their first initial period of obligated service to the country.”
- Overview of the Selective Service System and it’s relevance to the naturalization process
- Eligibility of immigrants for enlistment in the U.S. military
- MAVNI allows certain non-citizens in the United States to join the military
- Learn about naturalization benefits for the U.S. military
- Learn how Parole in Place aids immediate family members of U.S. military without lawful status
Additional Military Resources
USCIS has established a toll-free military help line, 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645), exclusively for members of the military and their families. USCIS customer service specialists are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (CST), excluding federal holidays.
USCIS Page for Military
Immigration Quotes from U.S. Veterans