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Citizenship Clinic scheduled to assist Richardson Soldiers

Charles Criss
U.S. Army Alaska Legal Assistance

Soldiers who are not U.S. citizens and want to acquire citizenship have an opportunity to jumpstart the process at a Citizenship Clinic Sept. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Fort Richardson’s Community Education Complex, Bldg. 7, Rms. 212 and 214.

Attendees will receive information about the citizenship process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will help them to fill out an application packet, and the required photographs will be taken.

Participants should bring a copy of the front and back of their military identification card and their “green card,” a chronological list of the residences they have lived at and the employers for whom they have worked for the past five years, a list of their current and former spouses, information on their place and date of birth and their “green card” number, if they have one.    

The intent of the clinic is to streamline the application and the naturalization process. In 2002, President George W. Bush made active-duty, non-citizen Soldiers immediately eligible to apply for citizenship. Up until then, active-duty service members had to have three years of honorable military service before they could apply. This shorter qualifying period of service was one more change brought by the Global War on Terror.

Members of the U.S. armed forces must meet certain requirements and qualifications to become a citizen of the United States. These include demonstrating good moral character, knowledge of the English language, knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics) and attachment to the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.

Qualified members of the U.S. armed forces are exempt from other naturalization requirements, including residency and physical presence in the United States.

All immigrants who have served honorably on active duty in the U.S. armed forces or as a member of the Selected Ready Reserve on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to file for immediate citizenship under the special wartime provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This act also covers veterans of designated past wars and conflicts.

When the application packet is completed at the clinic, it will be sent to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center for expedited processing. In addition to a photograph and fingerprints, each packet will include an Application for Naturalization (USCIS Form N-400), a Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (USCIS Form N-426) and Biographic Information (USCIS Form G-325B).

USCIS has naturalized more than 39,085 members of the U.S. armed forces since the beginning of the War on Terror in September 2001. Attendance at the Citizenship Clinic will start participants on the road to joining the other service members who acquired U.S. citizenship.

For more information, call the Legal Assistance Office at 384-0371 for Fort Richardson or 353-6534 for Fort Wainwright or the citizenship processing officer at 384-1083 for Fort Richardson or 353-2132 for Fort Wainwright.