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Naturalization offices closed at three basic training sites

The military has traditionally been a path for immigrants to become part of life here in the United States. Now, the path to citizenship through the military just got a little more difficult. A new policy change has led to the closing of three naturalization centers at military basic training sites. Immigrants in New York hoping to gain citizenship after basic training may have to wait a little bit longer. 

An October 2017 Department of Defense policy extended the amount of time an immigrant must serve before becoming eligible to become a citizen. The new length of service time is 180 days. Since basic training lasts only 10 weeks, naturalization centers at basic training sites became irrelevant. 

Three locations -- Fort Sill, Fort Jackson and Fort Benning -- shut their doors in January in response to the policy change. A spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services has said that the U.S. still supports military naturalizations and noted that several centers remained open for this purpose. Recent data shows that the numbers for naturalized military service members has dropped 16 percent in the last year.

A person in New York considering naturalization should understand that the length of service time has been extended, and that locations to complete this process have been eliminated, although the path remains an option at this point. For those who do not wish to join the military, other options are available. An attorney who specializes in immigration law may be able to assist individuals in exploring their options for U.S. citizenship. 

Source: militarytimes.com, "US closes naturalization offices at military basic training sites", Tara Copp, March 6, 2018

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