Some immigrants who live in Arizona, as well as the rest of the country, volunteer for military service. For many, the military provides both career opportunities as well as a path to US citizenship. However, there are changes afoot that will affect immigrant service members and potential service members.

Non-citizens who hold green cards are still eligible to volunteer for military service. However, they must first undergo a background check before they can begin basic training. While this change reflects current concerns about national security, it may also slow down an individual’s ability to enter the military.

The second change slows down the process by which a service member could be certified for an expedited citizenship process. Previously, someone only needed one day of military service to receive certification of honorable service. Now, service members will need to complete basic training and 180 days of service to qualify.

Both of these changes may represent some challenges for immigrants who were hoping to enter the military and eventually become citizens. It should also be noted that immigration law and military policy is always subject to change, so it is important for immigrants to stay up to date on laws and policies that may affect their ability to remain in the country, serve in military roles and eventually become a citizen.

Individuals and families who are concerned about these issues may benefit from speaking with an experienced US immigration law attorney. A lawyer may be able to review the client’s case and make recommendations regarding potential paths to citizenship, as well as answer any questions the client has regarding military service, employment and being able to remain in the United States.