How To Join the Army If You Aren't a U.S. Citizen

There are no rules discriminating against people who don’t happen to be citizens who still want to join the US Army. But of course, there are some standards that need to be met for one to be a part of it. There are ways to enlist but you have to know that there are limitations.  Anyone who isn’t a citizen will not get any opportunity to become a commissioned officer; nevertheless, one can receive benefits, like foreign language skills and cultural knowledge. Every year, there are around 8,000 noncitizens who join the military.

Here are some instructions on how to enlist.   

  • Enter the United States legally by either having a permanent resident visa or obtaining an alien registration permit. Illegal aliens are not allowed to join the military.
  • Have a “home record” and establish a bona fide residence in the U.S. Your length of residency affects your application for the military. If you have stayed in the country for just a month or few before the application, the result would be a clear “no.” The requirement is at least three years of residency for those who married an American citizen and at least five years for non citizens.
  • In order for you to qualify using your permanent residency card or commonly known as a green card, the card should cover the whole enlistment term. You have to note the expiration date of your card for this may affect your application process.
  • Non U.S. citizens who do not become a U.S citizen beyond their first term of service are not allowed to enlist again. However, an accelerated citizenship procedure is available for non-citizens on active duty.
  • American Samoa, Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Republic of Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are some of the United States’ allied countries. You should know that citizens of these places are automatically qualified for enlistment.
  • You should get a waiver from the US Secretary of Defense if you are a citizen of a country with a hostile relationship with the United States. Still, this is not a guarantee that you will be enlisted, as the rule depends on which country you are from. You can talk to your recruiter about this and ask all the related questions.
  • Keep in mind that being enlisted in the U.S. army not automatically give you the privilege of obtaining a security clearance. Non-citizens can still be given jobs that do not demand security clearances, though. These jobs include diver, journalist, mechanic, armor crewman, band member, machinist and fire fighter.
  • Verify your qualifications. You can not be enlisted if any of the following apply:
    • If you are a current member of another military service.
    • If you have served in another country’s military. You are only qualified for enlistment if you can prove that you finished your service and there is absolutely no chance for recall.
  • You should meet the other eligibility requirements for enlistment. Your age should not be less than 17, but not more than 42. You should have at least a high school diploma and shouldn’t have two dependents or more under the age of 18. Single parents cannot join the U.S. Army.

Remember that it is a federal offense if you fail to provide information on military forms, especially the information about citizenship status.



Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: