US Army Recruitment for Foreigners
You don’t need to be a US citizen to join the Army, but you do need to live here. You cannot join the army of a foreign country – you must become a permanent resident of the US, also known as a green card holder. In the past, enlisting with the USA green card was a fast track to full citizenship, but as of February 2018, the law were changing.
US Army Recruitment for Foreigners Green Card
American immigration law offers several options for foreigners who wish to live in the United States. The Permanent Resident Card, as the name implies, gives you the right to live and work permanently in the United States. You can apply through a US consulate while living abroad or after arriving in the US. To earn your card, you must fit into one of several categories, for example:
You are related to an American citizen.
You are a worker with exceptional skills. Unskilled workers can apply, but they have a lower preference.
You are a political refugee.
You are a victim of human trafficking or abuse.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service has all the options online. Typically, you need a sponsor to file a petition for permanent resident status. The application process involves many more forms, an interview, photographs and fingerprints.
Enlisting with a Green Card
A green card alone does not allow you to join the US Army. You must live in the US and be able to speak, read and write fluent English. You must also meet the same requirements that all Army recruits face:
Applicants must be at least 17 years old and no older than 35. This applies to the Regular Army, Reserves and National Guard.
You are in good health.
You have a high school diploma, although a GED might suffice.
Pass the Armed Forces Professional Aptitude Battery test.
If you want to become an officer, you must have a university degree.
If you have a disqualification condition, such as health problems or a criminal record, you can ask the Army to waive it. There is no guarantee that you will receive a waiver, but there is no charge to apply.
Limitations for Non-citizens
If you join the US Army as a non-citizen, enlisting can accelerate your path to full citizenship. Your military career is limited, until you become a US citizen. You cannot re-enlist, obtain a security clearance, or qualify for overseas assignments, except as a citizen. If you wish to become a US citizen, military service waives some of its requirements:
For example, you do not need to be physically in the US if you are stationed abroad.
More than 100,000 immigrants have been naturalized via military service since the 9/11. Since February 2018, military policy has slowed the process with more intense background checks and slower approval times.
New recruits cannot begin basic training until the background check is complete, which can take up to a year or more. Unless policy changes, this could make enlisting more difficult than you would have found a few years ago.