Navy Careers Open to Non-US Citizens

Group of ships in Persian Gulf, including USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) Aircraft Carrier
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Frank Rossoto Stocktrek/Getty Images

 

Certain jobs in the military are limited by citizenship. This is usually because military regulations only allow security clearances to be issued to United States citizens.

While the following Navy ratings ("ratings" is how the Navy refers to its enlisted jobs) do not require U.S. citizenship, you must be a legal immigrant with a green card residing in the United States in order to join any branch of the United States Military. The Navy cannot and will not assist with immigration. You must legally immigrate first, and then apply to join the U.S. Navy or any other branch of the U.S. military.

Once an immigrant joins the U.S. military, normal residency requirements are waived, and they can apply to become a United States citizen after three years of active duty (sometimes less time during periods of hostilities). One must be a U.S. citizen to become a commissioned officer or to re-enlist in the military.

Enlisting

To join the U.S. military as a non-citizen, you must live permanently (and legally) in the United States. You must be categorized as a "legal permanent immigrant" with permission to work in the U.S. Those visiting the U.S. on tourist visas or attending school on a student visa do not qualify. 

You must have an I–551 Permanent Resident Card, which is also known as a Green Card. I-551 cards issued after 1989 expire after 10 years, so they must be renewed. You do not lose your permanent residence status if your card is expired, but to enlist you will need to apply for renewal and obtain verification in the form of an original receipt from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This receipt shows that you have paid for an I–90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident) renewal application prior to enlistment.

You must have a valid I–551 Card prior to leaving for training. If your card is set to expire within six months of enlisting, the card must be renewed. Your I-551 card must also be valid for at least 6 months after your enlistment date.

Ratings

Below is a list of ratings in the United States Navy that do not require U.S. citizenship: