The US army recruits Kenyans and other non-US citizens yearly to join the US army in various categories. We are going to show you the steps of joining the US army if you are a non-US Citizen.
Join the Military as an Enlisted Member
Enlisted members make up the majority of the military workforce in the US. They get training in a job specialization and do most of the hands-on work there. Typically, you’ll sign up for about four years of active duty and then two years inactive. After you have completed your active duty period, you can either prolong your contract there or reenlist if you want to continue serving in the military.
Officers make up a considerably smaller part of the workforce in the US army. To join as an officer in the military, you typically must have a four-year valid college degree and complete an officer program. You will compete for a promotion to continue your occupation. Most officers are administrators who plan and direct operations.
Others are professionals, such as lawyers and doctors. Officers get paid more than the enlisted members, and they also enjoy certain other key benefits. You don’t have to register as an officer to become one of them, though. You can join as an enrolled member and attend an officer training later on if interested.
Requirements for Joining the U.S. Military
To join the enlisted ranks of the army, in general, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder
- Non-citizens must read, speak, and write English fluently
- Non-citizens must currently be living in the U.S.
- Be in good health condition
- Be between 17 to 40 years old (different branches have various age requirements)
- View a chart of age requirements by service
- Have a high school diploma (Also some branches will accept a GED where applicable)
- Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (The ASVAB) test
- To join as an officer in the force, you must also have attended college.
Age Limits for Enlisting
You must be at least 17 of age to enlist in any branch of the active military. The oldest you can be in order to enroll for active duty in each branch are as follows:
- Coast Guard: 27
- Marines: 29
- Navy: 34
- Army: 35
- Air Force: 39
The army branches have different age boundaries for their part-time Reserve and the National Guard.
Requirements for Enlisting in the army If You Are Not a U.S. Citizen
You do not have to be a permanent U.S. citizen to enlist in the military, but you may have thinner options here. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must fulfill these requirements:
- Have a permanent resident card, popularly known as the Green Card
- Currently reside in the U.S.
- Speak, read, and able to write English fluently
Military Service Academies and Other Steps to Become a Military Officer
You can become a military officer in the U.S. military by graduating from one of the U.S. service institutions. The academies are like colleges that train future commissioned military officers.
Benefits and Commitments
- Tuition, room, and board are totally free.
- You get paid well while you are attending.
- You must serve for many years in the military after you graduate unless you go to the Merchant Marine Academy—then you have different options.
- Five Service Academies available
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- United States Military Academy — Army
- United States Naval Academy — Navy and Marine Corps
- The United States Coast Guard Academy
- United States Merchant Marine Academy
- The United States Air Force Academy
How to Get Into a Military Academy
To be admitted into any service academy except for the Coast Guard Academy, you must initially be nominated to the school by either:
- A U.S. Senator
- A U.S. Representative
- The Vice President of the U.S., who can also appoint applicants to any academy except for the Merchant Marine Academy.
How to Get Into the Coast Guard Academy
Submit an application letter directly. You don’t have to be nominated.
Other Ways to Become a Military Officer in the US
You can also earn an officer commission through the following:
- Officer Candidate School (OCS)
- Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)
- A direct commission from the enlisted military ranks
- Specific legal, medical, or clergy professions
Contact a military recruiter for the Department of Defense service branch you are interested in to learn more about these programs:
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Air Force
- U.S. Navy division
- U.S. Marine Corps
If you are planning to join the US Army as a non-US Citizen,the first thing to do is obtain citizenship, then apply via the military’s official website.
US Army recruitment contacts and application forms
- Active duty and Reserve: 1-888-550-ARMY (1-888-550-2769)
- National Guard: 1-800-GO-GUARD (1-800-464-8273)
- Active Duty: 1-800-423-USAF (1-800-423-8723)
- Reserve: 1-800-257-1212
- National Guard: 1-800-TO-GO-ANG (1-800-864-6264)
Active Duty and Reserve: 1-800-USA-NAVY (1-800-872-6289)
US Marine Corps
Active Duty and Reserve: 1-800-MARINES (1-800-627-4637)
US Coast Guard
Active Duty and Reserve