Military Access to Expedited Naturalization Reversed
On October 13, 2017, the Department of Defense reversed a Bush-era policy that offered expedited naturalization to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) enlisted in the military. Under the new policy, enlistees must undergo a new security clearance process that will take a year before entering basic training. Previously, enlistees could be shipped to basic training if the background investigation had been initiated and all other security screenings were met. Now, to receive the certification of honorable service in order to apply for expedited naturalization, the LPR military member must first complete the background screening, complete training, and have at least 180 consecutive days of active duty service or one year of satisfactory service in the selected reserves. The policy is effective immediately and will affect currently pending applicants — including by recalling and decertifying already received certificates of honorable service. It is also likely that service in the U.S. military will have an impact on the immigrant’s ability to process other immigration applications, including for work, travel, and sponsoring family. We caution any LPR interested in enlisting to review this new policy and see how it will affect their immigration status and ability to serve.