Since 2017, the basic military training regimen didn’t allow trainees to naturalize and become U.S. citizens before graduation. Now, the United States Air Force has re-implemented the program to enable trainees at JBSA-Lackland to become U.S. citizens prior to graduation from basic military training.
This exciting change comes from a partnership between the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the 37th Training Wing at JBSA-Lackland. The Air Force says this is one of many initiatives that will be coming soon to remove barriers.
This past April, 14 of the 500 trainees in basic training were able to become U.S. citizens, making them the first to complete the new streamlined naturalization process. Throughout the past 7.5 weeks in basic training, they completed the necessary paperwork, took their citizenship test, and their Oath of Allegiance.
Most of the program is available online, allowing trainees to complete the application when convenient for them. They must scan a QR code when they arrive at basic military training, create an account, and they can immediately start their application. They also have access to a 100-question sample test to help them study for their final test, which they must pass and complete, plus a virtual interview.
In order to be eligible and apply for naturalization, you must meet the requirements of either section 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under INA 328, you may be eligible to apply if you served in the military for at least one year. Under INA 329, if you served during a designated period of hostilities, you may be eligible to apply.
You can apply by mailing your application and the required materials to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or by creating an online account and completing the application online. Once USCIS receives your application, they will review it and send it to a USCIS field office, where they will schedule your interview and test your knowledge. If they find you eligible for naturalization, they will schedule a date for you to take the Oath of Allegiance and become a U.S. citizen.
If you have any questions about the naturalization process, please reach out to us! We would love to be a resource for you!