The U.S. military services sign up about 8,000 foreign nationals annually and about 29,000 non-citizens serve in the U.S. military today. Non-citizen service members normally possess a State Department-issued green card that authorizes them to live and work in the United States.
In December 2008, the United States Department of Defense launched a year-long program to recruit about 1,000 non-U.S. citizen health care workers and language and cultural specialists for service in America's military. People sought for the program include doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and those proficient in certain foreign languages and associated cultures, according to a Department of Defense news release.
A spokesman for the Department of Defense noted that "there are tens of thousands of health professionals in the United States on a work visa who would be very interested in achieving green card status or, ultimately, citizenship." The pilot program provides successful applicants with a way to accelerate achievement of U.S. citizenship if "they're willing to serve in our time of need to fulfill a vital national interest."
Applicants for the program must be legal aliens who have lived in the U.S. for at least two years and must undergo security screenings and satisfy the same high standards required for every other person entering the military today.
If you do not qualify for military service under the requirements of the new pilot program, you will need a green card before you can sign up to serve on the U.S. Armed Forces. Consider applying for the annual green card lottery as a way of obtaining your green card. You can learn more about this program and register online at the USA Green Card website.