Armed Forces News

Section 329 of Title 8 U.S. Code allows the President to authorize expedited U.S. citizenship during periods that the United States is engaged in armed conflict with a hostile foreign force. This means that foreign-born service members who have served honorably for any period of time beginning on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to apply for expedited citizenship, said a Pentagon official. In addition, under the fiscal 2004 National Defense Authorization Act, the peacetime waiting period is shortened from three years of honorable service to one. Beginning Oct. 1, the new law authorizes U.S. citizenship applications to be finalized at U.S. embassies, consulates and selected military installations overseas, to include citizenship interviews, testing and oaths of allegiance, according to an official. Also effective Oct. 1, the new law waives the $310 citizenship application and fingerprint fee.