U.S. to open military to temporary immigrants: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military will begin recruiting immigrants with special skills who are in the United States on temporary visas, offering a chance to become citizens in as little as six months, The New York Times reported.

A report on the newspaper's website on Saturday said it would be the first time since the Vietnam War that the armed forces would be open to temporary immigrants, provided they have lived in the United States for at least two years.

Immigrants with permanent resident status, or "green cards," are eligible to enlist in the U.S. military.

A Pentagon spokesman said he knew of the program but had no details.

The Times said the program could help the military fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis. It will be limited to 1,000 enlistees in its first year, most for the Army and some for other services.

Temporary immigrants who want to enlist would have to prove they had lived in the United States for two years and had not been out of the country for more than 90 days during that time. They would also have to pass an English test.

(Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Peter Cooney)