How Foreigners can be Recruited Into the United States Armed Forces

 Each year, about 8,000 foreign nationals are recruited into the Armed Forces of the United States. Non-citizens are allowed to join provided they meet certain legal immigration requirements.

The United States Armed Forces consist of U.S. Army, U.S. Air force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. It is the world's strongest military and also one of the largest in terms of the number of personnel.

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As in most militaries, the U.S. Armed Forces primarily recruit American citizens, however, foreign nationals are also enlisted. For non-citizens to be eligible to join the U.S. military, they must be Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) residing in the United States. LPRs are legal immigrants with a green card (permanent resident card) which permits them to live and work in America. But, non-citizens are not allowed to become commissioned or warrant officers, and they may also be barred from certain Military Occupational Specialties or job categories. We discuss below the steps a foreigner should take to qualify to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States.

1. Be a legal immigrant living permanently in the U.S.
Foreigners who wish to join the U.S. Armed Forces must be living in the United States legally with permission to work. Student and tourist visas are not sufficient for enlistment, and undocumented migrants (illegal) are ineligible to join the U.S. military.

2. Have a Permanent resident card
Also popularly known as a Green Card, it is a permit with a 10-yr span before renewal which allows foreign nationals to permanently live and work in the United States. Non-citizens are required to provide their permanent resident cards as proof of their legal status when applying to join the U.S. military.

How to get a Green Card? Every year, the U.S. Government gives 55,000 Green Cards to randomly selected people from different countries through the Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery. The visa lottery applications are entered online through the program's official website www.dvlottery.state.gov  around October of every year. Foreigners can apply from their respective home countries and if they win the visa lottery and are given the Green Card, they can then travel to the United States of America and join the U.S. military as lawful permanent residents.


3. Requirements for joining the U.S. Military
Foreign nationals must also meet the same standards of physical fitness and education as U.S. citizens seeking to enlist. Requirements for Non-citizens to JOIN the U.S. Armed Forces in general, they must:
(1) Be a holder of a Green Card
(2) Be currently living in the U.S.
(3) Must speak, read and write English fluently
(4) Be in good health
(5) Be between 17 - 40 Yrs old (each of the 5 branches have different age requirements)
(6) Have a high school certificate
(7) Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test


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