People become U.S. citizens in one of
•Birth in the United States or abroad
to U.S. citizen parents, or
United States or U.S. Territories
•United States (& territorial water, air space)
Naturalization for Military
• Marine Corp
• Air Force
• Coast Guard
• Certain Reserve components of the National Guard
• Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
• 2008: 6,179 members of military were
• Since September 2001:
41,000 members of military have been
117 grants of posthumous citizenship
• 5% of U.S. military is foreign born (1/2 are
naturalized U.S. citizens)(Mexico &
Philippines two countries most represented)
Naturalization Requirements for
• Forms: Completed N-400, Application for Naturalization,
G-325B, Biographic Information,
N-426, Certification of Military or Naval Service, and
FD-258, Fingerprint Card
• English(speak, read, write)
• Civics exam: U.S. history and government
• Good moral character
• Oath of allegiance: Attachment to the principles of the U.S.
Constitution, renunciation of former citizenship.
Special Naturalization Provisions
---Immigration and Nationality
Act (INA) sec. 328, 8 USC
1439 if serve during
---INA sec. 329, 8 USC 1440, if
serve during war.
Section 328 – Peacetime
• Must be lawful permanent residence
• Serve at least one year (aggregate) under
honorable conditions at time of filing
• Exempt from requirement of physical presence in
the U.S. if presently serving in US military, or
honorably discharged within past 6 months
• Good moral character
Section 329 – Wartime Service
●Honorable service in active duty military status
during period of war/hostility declared by President in
Executive Order—1 day sufficient
●Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) or enlisted while
in the United States
●Good moral character for 1 year prior to filing
application & until take oath
Dates Specified in Section 329
• World War I: April 6, 1917 – Nov. 11, 1918
• World War II: Sept. 1, 1939, and Dec. 31, 1946
• Korean Conflict: June 25, 1950, and July 1, 1955
• Vietnam Hostilities: Feb. 28, 1961, and Oct. 15, 1978
• Persian Gulf War: Aug. 29, 1990, and April 11, 1991
• War on Terrorism: Sept. 11, 2001, and Present
Statutory Definition of GMC
INA § 101(f), 8 USC 1101(f):
lack good moral character if:
●convicted of crime involving moral turpitude
●convicted of 2 or more crimes & sentenced to 5 years or more
●gives false testimony to obtain an immigration benefit,
●convicted of murder (permanent bar)
●convicted of an aggravated felony on or after 11/29/1990
(permanent bar). Aggravated felonies are listed at
●makes false claim of U.S. citizenship, unlawfully registers to
vote, fails to register for Selective Service, & other behavior
reflective of bad moral character.
• Highly decorated officer in the Navy
discovers he is not in fact a U.S. citizen.
His parents had paid a midwife to register
his birth in the U.S. He would like to be
naturalized. However, in January 2001, he
was convicted of theft and received a 1
year sentence, that the court suspended
the execution of.
• Is he eligible to naturalize?
No—An aggravated felony conviction
after 11/29/1990, is a permanent bar.
• He should not apply for naturalization because he
is not eligible and might end up in removal
• Could apply for pardon by President or Governor.
• Could return to criminal court to seek resentencing
to less than 1 year (which is minimum sentence for
theft to be an aggravated felony).
• An expungement based on rehabilitation is
ineffective for immigration purposes.
The ―Unlawful Acts‖ Regulation
“Unless the applicant establishes extenuating
circumstances, the applicant shall be found
to lack good moral character if, during the
statutory period, the applicant committed
unlawful acts that adversely reflect upon the
applicant’s moral character….”
8 CFR § 316.10(b)(3)(iii).
• Fees have been waived for military personnel
effective October 1, 2004.
• Fees are not waived for military’s family
members. However, there is a general fee
waiver provision for demonstrated inability to
pay under 8 CFR 103.7(c)
• Acceptance of the constitutional process and
willingness to obey the laws of the United
• Modified oath permissible due to religious or
• Applicant may appear at any domestic USCIS Application
Support Center for fingerprinting
• USCIS may use any fingerprints already on file for the
• USCIS may use fingerprints taken at the time of enlistment
into the military
• The applicant may have fingerprints taken at a U.S.
Military installation overseas, or at a U.S. embassy using
the FD-258 fingerprint card
• The applicant may have fingerprints taken at select military
installations in the U.S. by USCIS personnel
N-400─Application for Naturalization
This document is for used by
the Armed Forces for military
personnel only; it is not used for
Potential Problems with
• N-426 form not properly certified by designated
• G-325B form not completed properly
• Applicant not referred to ASC for fingerprinting prior
• Applicant does not receive assistance from local
• Applicant filed at wrong Service Center
• Lack of Good Moral Character -- e.g. committed
fraud when enlisted, or conviction, etc.
Every military installation should
have a designated POC to
handle the application and
certify the Request for
Certification of Military or Naval
Where to File (even if stationed
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87426
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501-7426
Naturalization Test Exceptions
These exceptions apply for all applicants:
• English literacy:
–50 years old and 20 years of residency
–55 years old and 15 years of residency
• Modified government and history exam:
–65 years old and 20 years residency
Naturalization Text Examples
Civics English Literacy
• Who is presently the Vice • He has a big dog.
President of the United
States? • He came to live with his
• Name one state that borders brother.
• I came to _____(city) today.
• Name one war fought by the
United States in the 1800s. • I drive a blue car.
• The Federalist Papers
supported the passage of the
U.S. Constitution. Name one
of the writers (Madison,
Hamilton, Jay & aka Publius)
• Notice providing location, date, and time of ceremony will be
sent once the applicant is approved.
• Changes as of October 1, 2004:
– No fees will be charged when members of the Armed Forces file
– The naturalization process is now available overseas to members
of the Armed Forces at U.S. embassies, consulates, and, where
practical, at military installations abroad.
As of October 1, 2004, military applicants naturalizing
overseas should notify either the Rome or Seoul
Consulates of their intention.
• CIS.Seoul@ DHS.gov
Naturalization ceremonies have taken place in numerous
• Iraq (week of June 29, 2009—ceremony for 300 scheduled)
INA 336, 8 USC 1447─
if USCIS denies naturalization
application, there is de novo
review available in federal
Child Citizenship Act of
2001, INA sec. 320
• Automatic citizenship for biological and adopted child if:
─Child is under 18
─At least one parent is citizen (by birth or naturalization)
─Child is a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card)
─Child is in legal and physical custody of citizen parent
• Stepchildren are NOT eligible.
• Good moral character is not required.
• Posthumous citizenship ─ Available for active-duty military
personnel who died while serving in the Armed Forces. Must
apply within 2 years. Surviving family members also eligible
for immigration benefits.
• Request for posthumous citizenship ─ The request is
accompanied by a duly authenticated certificate from the
executive department under which the person served that
states the person satisfied the requirements of this law.