U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials traveled to Afghanistan this week to process applications and interview 125 members of the military who have applied to become U.S. citizens. These USCIS officials are on site to ensure that every eligible service member can participate in a special Memorial Day Naturalization ceremony at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
“These USCIS officers volunteered to deploy in support of our military men and women serving in Afghanistan,” said acting USCIS Deputy Director Mike Aytes. “It is a privilege to support our nation’s service members in their pursuit of citizenship, and we are humbled by their selfless service to the United States.”
All immigrants who have served honorably in an active-duty status for any period since Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to apply for citizenship under special provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since then, USCIS officers have administered the Oath of Allegiance to more than 47,500 service members. This includes naturalization ceremonies for more than 6,600 service members in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and onboard Navy flagships at sea.
USCIS conducts extensive outreach with the Department of Defense to ensure the military community has accurate information about immigration services and benefits. Specially trained USCIS customer service specialists staff the toll-free Military Help Line, (877) 247-4645 and assist service members, their families, attorneys and others with military-specific naturalization and immigration issues.