Joining The American Army As A Foreigner

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You don’t have to be a US citizen to join the military, but you do have to live here. You cannot join the military from a foreign country – you must be a US resident, AKA green card holder. In the past, registering with a green card was a quick way to get full citizenship, but as of February 2018, the rules are changing.

Joining The American Army As A Foreigner

US immigration law offers many options for foreigners who want to live in the US. A Permanent Resident Card, as the name suggests, gives you the right to stay and stay in the US. You can apply through a U.S. consulate while living abroad when you arrive in the U.S. To win your card, you must meet one of the following criteria, for example:

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USCIS has all the options online. You usually need a sponsor to submit a residence permit application. The application process includes several forms, interviews, photos and fingerprints.

A green card by itself does not allow you to join the US military. You must live in the United States and be able to speak, read and write English fluently. You must also meet the same requirements as all soldiers:

If you have a disqualifying condition, such as health problems or a criminal record, you can request an exemption from the military. There’s no guarantee you’ll get an exemption, and there’s no cost to apply.

If you are joining the US military as a non-citizen, enlistment can speed up your path to full citizenship. Until you become a citizen, your military career is limited. You cannot reapply, get a security clearance, or be eligible for overseas assignments unless you are a citizen. If you want to become a US citizen, the military waives some requirements: For example, you must not be physically present in the US while you are abroad.

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More than 100,000 immigrants have been identified through military service since 9/11. Since February 2018, military policy has stalled the process with more formal investigations and slower approval times. New hires cannot begin basic training until background checks are completed, which can take up to a year. Unless the policy changes, registration may be more difficult than in recent years.

Fraser Sherman writes about all aspects of life: the importance of professional ethics, the challenges of business communication, human rights, and how to deal with authoritarian bosses. She lives in Durham NC with her amazing husband and two beautiful dogs. You can find him online at

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This photo provided to the AP by Panshu Zhao shows Zhao in uniform on Feb. 11 at a U.S. Army Reserve installation in Houston. Zhao is one of many immigrants and reservists in the military who have waited years to be called up but were recently dismissed with little notice. AP hides the information

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This photo provided to the AP by Panshu Zhao shows Zhao in uniform on Feb. 11 at a U.S. Army Reserve installation in Houston. Zhao is one of many immigrants and reservists in the military who have waited years to be called up but were recently dismissed with little notice.

Panshu Zhao moved from China to the United States about eight years ago to study. A roof is a lifelong dream.

Since then, he has completed his undergraduate degree and is currently pursuing a PhD in Geography at Texas A&M University. Describing his life to Steve Inskeep on Friday, he divided it into two parts: his life in China and his life in America.

The latter includes regular attendance at the Christian church and deep respect for the military. So deep, in fact, that in 2016 he enlisted and served in the Army Reserve while awaiting orders for full-time training.

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But recently, Zhao found himself among the many immigrants who joined the military through a special Defense Department program, promised a fast track to nationals, only to be suddenly turned away with little or nothing.

According to the Associated Press, about 40 employees — reservists and active-duty personnel, all in the United States legally — had been waiting years to be assigned before being told last week that they were ineligible to serve in the U.S. military. And for many, rejection has thrown their immigration status into limbo.

The sad news was delivered by his employer, who told him, Zhao said, that he has failed a background check.

He said the employee “told me I could no longer be a soldier without telling me specifically why and not even giving me a chance to appeal.”

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The Pentagon has denied changing the policy. In a statement Friday, Army Department spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said all recruits are required to “pass due diligence as part of the military enlistment process” and “one aspect of that evaluation is security clearances.”

A non-US citizen who receives a “negative security clearance shall be deemed unfit for military service and automatically discharged.”

Characteristics that may prevent a person from participating in the program include a criminal record, dishonesty, or character issues.

Smith said the length of the review varies and depends on each employee’s “reasonable assessment” and the person’s “unique circumstances.”

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Recently resettled immigrants were registered as part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest or MAVNI program. It was established in 2009 to allow the military to recruit individuals with specialized knowledge, including high language and medical skills.

Entrants must be living in the United States legally, such as on a student visa, or seeking asylum, but cannot be green card holders. Enrollment gave them a fast track to citizenship, sometimes before starting basic education.

Over the past nine years, approximately 10,400 foreign workers have joined the military through the program. But while more and more security checks are added, hundreds of graduates are trapped in a state of purgatory.

The MAVNI program had a troubled history almost from the beginning. It was released shortly after leaving the country in 2009, following the attack on Fort Hood, Texas. Before the administration knew the US-born Army Major. Nidal Malik Hasan was behind the murder, the authorities were afraid of the danger of an external threat arising in the group. It eventually led to more security checks when the program was revamped in 2012.

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Lawmakers later protested when it was expanded to include those who received the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2014.

The MAVNI program was officially terminated in 2016 “after a classified investigation found it may be affected by undue risks such as terrorism and espionage,” the report said. Carla Gleason, Pentagon spokeswoman, in an interview. But due to a backlogged process, officials requested and granted an extension for a full year to allow new applicants to apply. It ended in September 2017. Since then, the program has been closed as authorities continue to work to complete safety verification studies.

In October 2017, the Pentagon changed the naturalization process for MAVNI soldiers. Before that, service members can apply for citizenship a few days before basic training and before a comprehensive security check. Currently, employees must serve honorably for 180 days and pass the entire test.

Gleason said that “as of April 2018, approximately 1,100 people who signed a contract before entering basic training” are late.

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According to Gleason, no deadline has been set for the implementation of the security checks, and he is not currently aware of any plans to reform the MAVNI program. But he added, “The skills that made this program important are the skills that will remain with the Army. We are a diverse force that requires cultural and linguistic diversity.”

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