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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 11, 2024

New: Coast Guard streamlines naturalization services for Coast Guard recruits, reservists, and active-duty members

By Kathy Murray, MyCG Senior Writer

Coast Guard recruits, active-duty, and reserve members can now get their honorable service certified for naturalization at one of four Coast Guard training centers (TRACENS). 

Recruits can apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization while at boot camp through an expedited approval process. In addition, active-duty and reserve members, who have graduated boot camp, may request assistance with their citizenship applications from any of these four TRACENS:  

  • Cape May 
  • Yorktown 
  • Petaluma 
  • Maritime Law Enforcement Academy 

This change supports members who want to become citizens by streamlining the Coast Guard’s role in the process. Delegating this authority to TRACENS will reduce administrative and other delays, which have sometimes been quite lengthy. 

“Timeliness for verifying honorable service is critical,” says Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, incident commander and a Staff Judge Advocate at Cape May.  “We will do everything in our power to assist our members in earning their citizenship.”  

Who qualifies 

Current and former Coast Guard members can apply for naturalization through service at any time.  Certain residency and time restrictions apply. But if you have served honorably for any period since September 11, 2001, you can request naturalization after only one day of service. 

Where to go 

Coast Guard recruits can seek citizenship as part of their Basic Training, where they will be led through the process. Traditional eight-week recruits will receive legal naturalization assistance while at TRACEN Cape May. Direct Entry Petty Officer Training (DEPOT) recruits will receive assistance at their follow-on A-School. When the member graduates, they will also receive their citizenship. 

Members who are TDY or live near any of the four eligible TRACENS can have their military service certified and receive guidance for completing the naturalization process. Members may also seek in-person assistance there with the TRACEN’s Staff Judge Advocate (SJA). 

Commanding Officers at these TRACENS now have authority to certify honorable service, a process that should take no more than 30 days. Previously, members had to go through their chain of command and route their paperwork to PSC-RPM or PSC-EPM to certify military service. This remains an option if going to a training center is inconvenient. 

Members who have since left the service under honorable conditions should continue to apply for honorable service certifications through the Personnel Service Center (PSC) per the email addresses listed below for RPM or EPM as applicable.  

How to apply 

To start the process for yourself or your family, complete U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Forms N-400 and N-426, which can be found here. Potential recruits should contact their Coast Guard Recruiting Office who will guide them through the process. 

Active-duty personnel should contact  ( or for assistance. 

Reservists in an active status should contact HQS-SMB-CGPSC-RPM-1-STATUS@USCG.MIL or 


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