Are you a Nigerian with the desire to join the US Army? Are you wondering if that’s even possible? In this article, we would answer your question and provide you with the necessary information you’d need to make your dreams come true. Read on.
Can a Nigerian Join the US Army?
Yes, a Nigerian can join the US Army. Certain eligibility requirements must be met before a foreign national (in this case, a non-American) can join the US Army, however. The requirements one must satisfy for enlistment include age, citizenship, education, physical fitness, and criminal history.
Steps to Join the US Army as a Nigerian
As we stated earlier, you can join the United States Army as a Nigerian provided you meet certain eligibility requirements, including age, citizenship, education, physical fitness, and criminal history. Let’s briefly discuss what each of those eligibility requirements entails:
- Age eligibility criteria: 18 – 35 years (17 years, with parent’s consent)
- Citizenship eligibility criteria: You (ie a Nigerian national) must possess a Green Card or be a US citizen via the naturalization process
- Education eligibility criteria: minimum of high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate
- Physical fitness requirement: You must pass a physical fitness test and meet the minimum weight and height requirements standard for your age and gender
- Criminal history requirement: You must have no felony convictions, serious misdemeanors, or drug-related offenses
- Other requirements include passing a language proficiency test and undergoing security clearance
Before we proceed to other steps of the process, let’s briefly discuss the citizenship requirement in detail. You’d need to have this aspect sorted out before you consider enlisting for the US Army as a Nigerian.
The first option is to obtain a green card. Obtaining a United States green card is quite a lengthy process which could last months to months and can be gotten through a US citizen or permanent citizen sponsoring your application or an employer sponsoring the application. The green card could also be obtained through the Diversity Visa Program, the lottery system that grants green cards to a limited number of Non-American applicants. All three options for obtaining the green card involve submitting an application and supporting documents and attending interviews.
The other way to satisfy the citizenship requirement is to apply for citizenship via the naturalization process. To be able to do this, you must be 18 years and above, a permanent resident of the US for at least 5 years. Being capable of reading, writing, and speaking the English language will increase your chances of passing the citizenship test. It is also important to have a basic understanding of US history and government as this will help you pass the test. After passing the test and meeting the requirements, you will be eligible to take the United States Oath of Allegiance and become a citizen.
Now we’ve discussed how to go about meeting the citizenship requirement. Let’s move Into the next step of the process, which is contacting a recruiter for the US Army. Through the recruiter, you’ll get to obtain information on the enlistment process, and the possible career options you could take in the US Army.
After contacting the recruiter, you’d be made to sit for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, which is aimed at assessing your knowledge and skills in Mathematics, Science, and reading, among other areas. This test is usually set for three hours, so it’s pertinent to use study materials and practice tests which are available online and in bookshops in the US. The ASVAB test is conducted at various military centers across the US and overseas.
The next part of the enlistment process is the medical and physical examination stage. In the medical and examination stage, your mental and physical well-being would be assessed. To improve your chances of doing well in this stage, you’d have to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and have plenty of rest in the months before when these examinations would be done.
The physical examination is aimed at assessing how fit and physically healthy you are. You’ll undergo exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and timed runs to determine your physical fitness. Your height, weight, vision, hearing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health would be also checked during the physical examination.
The medical exam aspect of the enlistment process would assess your medical history and current health status. In this stage, you’d be required to state if you’ve had surgeries in the past and provide information on previous illnesses. You’d also be examined to determine if you have any medical conditions that may affect your service in the US Army. It is important to not hide anything about your health at this stage, else you’d be disqualified if it’s found out you failed to disclose any medical conditions you may have.
The next step of the enlistment process after the medical and physical exams is to complete security clearance. In this stage, your criminal record would be looked into to determine whether you do not have any questionable records such as felonies, serious misdemeanors, and drug-related offenses. Your financial records as well as your conduct would be looked into. Your friends and family would also be interviewed to get as much information about you as necessary.
This security check is to determine whether you can be trusted with sensitive information and technology. This security clearance process can last months, even years, depending on the complexity of your background and the level of clearance required. As a Nigerian, your immigration status and residency may be further looked into. It is therefore important to not hide anything during this process. Passing this stage increases your chances of being accepted to join the US Army.
After completion of the enlistment process, the next stage is to attend basic training designed to prepare civilians like yourself for military personnel. This training is usually physically and mentally demanding, lasting anywhere from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. Military discipline, physical fitness, weapons handling, team-building skills, and essential military skills are what you’ll learn during this stage.
After you might have completed the basic training, you’d be assigned to areas within the US Army where your skills are best suited for. You may be shipped off to other states in the US or overseas, as the US Army deems fit. Expect more job-specific training as you advance in the force.