Resourcesbreadcrumb separatorFrequently Asked Questionsbreadcrumb separatorPeace Officer Citizenship Requirements FAQs

What are the Citizenship Requirements for Peace Officers?

Do I have to be a United States citizen to be a California law enforcement officer, or can I be a legal resident alien and still apply for a peace officer position in California?

In accordance with Government Code Section 1031 and 1031.5, to be appointed as a peace officer in California, you must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship. Citizenship status must be conferred within three years of applying for citizenship. Additional citizenship requirements are stipulated for California Highway patrol officers, who must be U.S. citizens at the time of appointment (per Vehicle Code Section 2267).

California Citizenship Requirements

California Government Code Section 1031 and 1031.5 states that a peace officer shall be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship.
  • Any permanent resident alien who is employed as a peace officer shall diligently cooperate with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the processing of his or her application for citizenship and shall be disqualified from holding that position if, three years after the filing of an application for employment, the person has not obtained citizenship due to failure to cooperate in the process of the application for citizenship.
  • Any permanent resident alien who is employed as a peace officer shall be disqualified from holding that position if his or her application for citizenship is denied.
Information on obtaining citizenship can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Website.

Additional Requirements: A peace officer with the California Highway Patrol, per Vehicle Code 2267, must be a U.S. citizen at the time of appointment.

Questions about peace officer citizenship requirements may be directed to your Regional Consultant.