US permanent residents have been welcomed to serve in the American military.
Since the founding of the United States over two centuries ago, US permanent residents have been welcomed to serve in the American military.
Approximately 8,000 Green Card holders join the US military each year and around 35,000 are currently serving on active duty.
Many Green Card holders join the US military to receive benefits that can help new immigrants to get established living in the USA such as:
- Free or subsidized housing
- Free meals and/or food allowances
- Free healthcare
- Free career training (for example, computers, electronics, dental, nursing, etc.)
- Money for post-secondary education, such as university, vocational school, etc.
- VA loans to buy a home at a low interest rate
- Applying for American citizenship after serving only 1 year in the US military
For young Green Card holders in their 20s or 30s, the benefits and stability offered by joining the US military is something worth considering.
If you want to learn more about how to join the US military as a Green Card holder, keep reading for the key information!
Table of Contents
What are the requirements for a Green Card holder to join the US military?
In order to join the US military, a Green Card holder generally must:
- Have a valid US Permanent Resident Green Card
- Live in the USA
- Read, write and speak English fluently
- Possess a high school diploma or G.E.D.
- Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Test
- Be within a certain age range in order to join:
- Marines = 17-28
- Army = 17-35
- Navy = 17-39
- Air Force = 17-39
- Space Force = 17-39
- Pass the military entrance medical exam
It is recommended to research about each of the six branches of the US military to learn more about what they do and the jobs they have available.
Be aware that your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score from the ASVAB Test can determine which of the six branches of the US military you are allowed to join and which types of jobs in the US military you are eligible to apply for.
Furthermore, there are some jobs in the US military that only American citizens are permitted to have.
Green Card holders can apply to join the US military with a recruiter for one of the six branches of the armed forces or apply online.
Military Green Card holders – Limitations
Green Card holders who join the US military have certain limitations that American citizens do not generally have.
For example, there are some sensitive jobs in the US military that only American citizens can hold for national security reasons.
Naturalization for military members under the US Nationality Act
One of the benefits for a Green Card holder who joins the US military is the option to apply to become an American citizen after serving only one year in the armed forces.
By comparison, a Green Card holder usually has to live in the USA for 5 years before applying to become an American citizen.
The general requirements for a Green Card holder serving in the US military to apply to become an American citizen through naturalization include the following:
- Hold a valid Green Card
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Complete at least 1 year of service in the US military
- File the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400)
- File the Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (Form N-426)
- Prove that you can read, write and speak English (unless exempt)
- Show that you have been a person of good moral character for the past 5 years
- Demonstrate a basic knowledge of US government and history (unless exempt)
- Have an attachment to the principles expressed in the US Constitution
Take the Oath of Allegiance at a US Citizenship ceremony
A permanent resident of the United States can enjoy many benefits, however, there are even more opportunities available to a Green Card holder who joins the US military.
The first step toward enjoying the benefits that a Green Card offers is to become a permanent resident of the United States.
The easiest way to receive a US Permanent Resident Green Card is through the annual Green Card Lottery, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery.
There are only two eligibility requirements to participate in the Green Card Lottery (being born in an eligible country and meeting the education or work experience criteria), plus you need to submit your application and photo(s) correctly according to the strict regulations.
For over 20 years, USAFIS has been helping thousands of people to properly prepare and submit their applications and photos to the Green Card Lottery for the opportunity to receive one of the 55,000 Green Cards made available through this US immigration program each year.
Are you ready to take the first step toward a new life in America?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
A Green Card holder who is in the US military and stationed outside of the United States can live outside of the USA for the entire duration of the official overseas assignment plus four months without losing his or her status as a US permanent resident.
Yes, there are many different types of jobs for Green Card holders who have joined the US military, including in automotive repair, working with computers, dentistry, electronics, engineering, financial management, firefighting, human resources, logistics, nursing and more!
What Our Clients Say