In order to join any branch of the United States Military, one must either be a U.S. Citizen, or one must be a legal immigrant, currently living in the United States, with a “green card.” The United States Military cannot and will not assist in the immigration process. In order to join the U.S. Military, one must legally immigrate first, and then apply to join the military, once they are living in the U.S.
For enlistment purposes, citizens of the United States include citizens of: Guam, Puerto Rico, The U.S. Virgin Islands,The Northern Marianas Islands, American Samoa, The Federated States of Micronesia, and The Republic of the Marshall Islands.
While there is a statutory requirement that only a United States Citizen may become a commissioned officer, this is not true for enlistment. Certain non-citizens can enlist in the United States Armed Forces. To be eligible to enlist, a non-citizen must:
(1) Entered the United States on a permanent residence visa or has an Alien Registration Receipt Card (INS Form 1-551/I-551 greencard or stamped I-94), and
(2) Established a bona fide residence, and
(3) Established a home of record in the United States.
The visa and/or “greencard” must have sufficient time remaining on it (expiration date) to be valid during the entire term on enlistment. While non-citizens may enlist in the U.S. Military, they are not allowed to reenlist (stay in beyond their first term of service), unless they first become U.S. Citizens. However, there are accelerated citizenship procedures for non-citizens on active duty. For details, see our article, U.S. Citizenship in the Military.
If you have any questions, the best advice is to call or visit with a recruiter!