An official website of the United States government

Enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces for Non-U.S. Citizens
May 24, 2022

Military recruitment does not fall within the scope of the Defense Attaché Office. However, the following general information is provided for your reference:

Enlisted Personnel

All applicants for enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces (as well as the U.S. Civil Service and law enforcement agencies) must be either

  • a U.S. citizen OR
  • a registered alien who is
    a) legally and permanently resident in the U.S.,
    b) in possession of a U.S. Immigration (‘Green’) Card (INS 1-151 or INS 1-551) and Social Security number.

In general, applications for enlistment are normally processed on-site at a recruiting office in the United States. Since all applicants have to take the necessary physical and mental examinations to determine their suitability, there is no way of foretelling whether or not they will be recruited. Recruitment also depends on the needs of the Armed Forces at that time.

Permanent resident status, a prerequisite if the enlisted is not a U.S. citizen, requires that the alien qualify for an immigrant visa to enter the United States. You should be aware, however, that for the reasons stated above, no assurance can be given in advance that an applicant will successfully pass the various physical and aptitude tests for acceptance into the Armed Forces.An immigrant visa will not be issued on the basis of intention to enlist or intention to qualify for government employment upon arrival in the United States.



The selection process for a commissioned officer is highly competitive and includes, among other things, the following requirements: the candidate must be a U.S. citizen; before selection by a Military Academy for officer training, the candidate must pass a rigorous physical examination; he or she must be a high-school graduate, or a senior who has achieved excellent academic qualifications in high school. In addition, a pilot candidate must be both an existing commissioned officer and a U.S. citizen.

The criteria for granting both immigrant visas and United States citizenship are complex. Get more info at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate.html