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  • Army Limey moving to USA.

    Ok guys,

    I'm currently a commissioned officer in the British Army holding the rank of Lieutenant and am getting increasingly frustrated/bored of my job.
    I work in the field of communication but in reality much of my day is taken up with paperwork. I have a friend in the Met Police (London) and Surrey Police who are both really enjoying their work and telling me plenty of cool stories.

    I'm going to try 1 or 2 things first in the Army but my plan C is to get out and join the UK Police in Surrey which could be fairly difficult as recruiting is tight.

    I got talking to a friend of mine on holiday and we were talking about the police in the US. Realistically in London the police deal with a lower lever of crime and as i'm sure you know most are not armed.

    Ok, i'm dragging this out now.
    What I want to know is would it be possible to get a green card and move to the USA. Purely from what I see on TV ie news/movies I was looking at the NYPD with long term plans to join something like the FBI.

    I know this really is 'pie in the sky' stuff and i'm a million miles away but i'm 25 years old, i've been trained by the British Army including Sandhurst. I have fair grades from school/college and i'm looking for a change. I am a very driven person and if this is possible and something i'd enjoy i'd happily give it a shot.

    Any help would be great guys esp if you know anyone that has done similar.

    Many Thanks,

    Muz

  • #2
    Most states and/or departments require you to be a citizen to be a police officer. If you want out of the England, do you have a more realistic chance of becoming an officer in Canada?

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    • #3
      I know it has been done, so it is possible. It would just take you years to finally reach that point. ESPECIALLY if you were going to try for the FBI, which takes years for US citizens. Even the NYPD is a 2-3 year wait now.

      I do know of a couple states that allow green card holders to apply for Police jobs, I believe Alaska is one of them?

      Comment


      • #4
        I was wondering if I could maybe apply to join one of the Police Forces and then use that as my justification for a green card?
        It sounds like it is atleast as difficult over there as it is here.
        I could always start in the British Police and look at the possibilities of a transfer. Atleast that way I would be coming in with a similar skillset. I've done plenty of firearms training (shooting for 12 years now) and a bit of public order, i've also been out with the riot police as work experience. I might just apply and see what happens, I suppose the worst they can do is say no...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mbwest View Post
          I was wondering if I could maybe apply to join one of the Police Forces and then use that as my justification for a green card?
          It sounds like it is atleast as difficult over there as it is here.
          I could always start in the British Police and look at the possibilities of a transfer. Atleast that way I would be coming in with a similar skillset. I've done plenty of firearms training (shooting for 12 years now) and a bit of public order, i've also been out with the riot police as work experience. I might just apply and see what happens, I suppose the worst they can do is say no...
          Well the problem you're going to run into is, most police dept's list US citizenship as a requirement just to apply. So if you're not a citizen they won't even look at your application. Obtaining a green card doesn't take as long, and I believe it's something like Colorado, Alaska, maybe Hawaii?..that only require a green card at time of application. I'm not sure about the states, you would have to look it up.
          Another thing you might want to consider is getting a civilian position within a department, the requirements aren't as strict.

          As far as a transfer, you would not be able to 'transfer' from the UK to the US in the true sense of the word. Two entirely different sets of laws and policing styles. You would definitely have experience dealing with people, but you would need to re-learn a whole new set of laws.

          Comment


          • #6
            This comes up so often.
            Hate to burst your bubble mate but it's virtually impossible. If you are not a US Citizen then you have to obtain LPR status first (Legal Permanent resident - Commonly known as a Green Card) There are a number of ways to do this:

            Marry a US Citizen, after 3 years of LPR status you can apply for citizenship.
            Obtain a visa that will lead to LPR status, this generally needs a substantial investment and can take years to get your LPR status, once you have LPR you can apply for citizenship after 5 years.
            There are visas for certain people in the Arts etc which are classed as Aliens of Extraordinary Abilty, this will get you LPR status.
            The whole visa thing is a minefield and I've only given you a couple of examples it is extremely difficult to get into the US 'LEGALLY'.

            I did 20 years with Scotland Yard in London, I was lucky in as much as I managed to get LPR staus under Alien of Extraordinary Ability due to certain criteria in my background. I applied for citizenship after 6 years and now have dual UK/US Nationality. Even when you apply for Citizenship after 5 years it can still take a further 18 months or so to process it. The whole thing is not cheap.

            There are a few States that will take LPR's as LEO's some have been cited here. Even just moving here and getting a job in Publix is not doable unless you have the correct visa, in fact you won't get a visa to work in Publix. Sorry to be so blunt.
            "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm" - George Orwell

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            • #7
              I know several LEOs in the Bay Area that were born and grew up in the UK and Ireland. All three came to the States for college, ended up staying, got their U.S. citizenship and eventually got into law enforcement. It can definitely be done. The biggest question is how long it will take.

              Good Luck

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FriscoFed View Post
                I know several LEOs in the Bay Area that were born and grew up in the UK and Ireland. All three came to the States for college, ended up staying, got their U.S. citizenship and eventually got into law enforcement. It can definitely be done. The biggest question is how long it will take.
                This is what I would do. Come over on a student visa (grad school or whatever), get your feet on the ground and things figured out, decide if you even like it here (a suprising number of Brits "love to visit but wouldn't want to live there", etc) and then begin the process for permanent residency/ citizenship.

                Another option would be to join the US military, but as a non-citizen you'd be limited to enlisted ranks and MOSs that don't require security clearances. Even promotion within the enlisted ranks would be limited until your citizenship when thru... the up side being that applications from military members are somewhat expedited. By the end of a 3-4 year enlistment you'd be a citizen, have US military service on your resume, the benefits of being a US veteran (college money, federal and state hiring preferences, ect)... something to think about.

                There's also of course whatever duty and responsibility you feel towards your homeland and sovereign. Becomeing a law enforcement officer in the US will require that you become a US citizen one way or another. I frankly can't imagine abandoning my oath and alliegiance to the US and becoming a subject of Her Majesty...
                Last edited by tanksoldier; 08-22-2011, 04:55 PM.
                "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                Comment


                • #9
                  Both the UK and the US now acknowledge dual citizenship, I have both. The following is an extract from the US Military:

                  In order for a non-citizen to enlist in the military, he/she must first be a legal immigrant (with a green card), permamently residing in the United States. It's important to note that the military cannot and will not assist in the immigration process. One must immigrate first, using normal immigration quotas and procedures, and -- once they've established an address in the United States -- they can find a recruiter's office and apply for enlistment.

                  Notwithstanding, he must be a LPR before he can enlist, back to square one.
                  "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm" - George Orwell

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                  • #10
                    Notwithstanding, he must be a LPR before he can enlist, back to square one.
                    During Gulf War I we had an Iranian citizen in the battalion (one of only two Arabic speakers, so he got around) who enlisted off a student visa. Visa was set to expire and he didn't want to go back to Iran. They changed the name tags on his uniform so word wouldn't get back home that he was fighting for the US.

                    Either the rules have changed or I'm misremembering.
                    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      tanksoldier,

                      You're probably right, but a lot of things changed after 9/11 for instance, prior to that more States accepted LPR's as LEO's than they do now.
                      "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm" - George Orwell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Guys (and OP rupert) it really is a minefield.


                        SWAT1 has posted the correct info. All of the other replies advising 'join the military/come as a student then apply for citizenship' sound like they're from natural-born folks who aren't aware of the international and monumental difficulty involved in getting the legal right to reside (and work) here in the US. Keep in mind that all of that needs to be sorted for at least five years prior to the green card holder/permanent resident applying for US citizenship.


                        US immigration law is a cluster of the first order - and just so you know, I came here 25 years ago from the UK, served in the US Army, then became a cop.
                        Last edited by JI603; 08-25-2011, 07:05 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SWAT1 View Post
                          Both the UK and the US now acknowledge dual citizenship, I have both. The following is an extract from the US Military:
                          "It indeed used to be the case in the US that you couldn't hold dual citizenship (except in certain cases if you had dual citizenship from birth or childhood, in which case some Supreme Court rulings -- Perkins v. Elg (1939), Mandoli v. Acheson (1952), and Kawakita v. U.S. (1952) -- permitted you to keep both). However, most of the laws forbidding dual citizenship were struck down by the US Supreme Court in two cases: a 1967 decision, Afroyim v. Rusk, as well as a second ruling in 1980, Vance v. Terrazas.

                          Rules against dual citizenship still apply to some extent -- at least in theory -- to people who wish to become US citizens via naturalization. The Supreme Court chose to leave in place the requirement that new citizens must renounce their old citizenship during US naturalization.

                          so either you renounced it and are loyal to the USA or not.
                          ...and is commended as being worthy of trust and confidence

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OIG

                            I see where you are coming from but purely by renouncing your former Citizenship and taking the oath of allegiance to the US does not formally renounce your UK Citizenship, in order to do that there are forms to fill in and fees to pay. This is not a requirement of Naturalization.
                            "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm" - George Orwell

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Seems odd to me that you would want to give up your career as a Commissioned Officer in the British Army to become PC Plod or even think about coming to The Land Of The Free where in the year 2011, 120 Law Enforcement Officers have been killed in the line of duty.

                              Comment

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