In a post about a NASA position I've read the following (my emphasis):

The new hire will also receive "secret" security clearance. Only US citizens and US nationals can apply.

What is the difference between a "US citizen" and a "US national"? Can there be a person, who is a US national, but isn't a US citizen or vice versa?


A national has a green card and is a citizen but not born here. Also look up sf-86 requirements since you don't just get a secret clearance given to you it tends to be a pain in the butt.

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  • To keep it simple and if I'm wrong I'll surely be corrected. If you are born in the United States, it's territories or on a military base on foreign soil you are a naturalized citizen. Nationals are citizens who were born outside the country but have a legal immigrant status and shall be considered citizens but have certain restrictions such as a president must be born a US citizen. Embassies and military bases are considered sovereign soil but qualify for citizenship – Dirty Aug 4 '17 at 18:35

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