1 Reply Latest reply on Oct 5, 2020 9:11 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking naturalization records while in Military


      If a person completed their naturalization process while in the military during the 1940s, where would the records be?

        • Re: Seeking naturalization records while in Military
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Ms. Jay,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          The Second War Powers Act of 1942 (56 Stat. 182, 186) exempted noncitizen service members from naturalization requirements related to age, race, residence, any educational tests, fees, filing a declaration of intention, and enemy alien status. Later, a 1944 statute (58 Stat. 885) also eliminated the requirement for proof of lawful entry to the U.S. 


          However, members of the military physically present within the US were required to appear in court to give an oath of allegiance.  Often, a naturalization judge would open a session of court on a military installation and swear in the service members onsite. The court naturalizations records will therefore likely be found in the records of the nearest federal district court to the military facility where the service member served at the time of his or her naturalization.


          For service members who were overseas at the time of their naturalization, they were naturalized by representatives designation by the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, who also administered the oath of allegiance in lieu of having the service member appear in court. Granted petitions for overseas naturalizations were filed in the Federal court with jurisdiction over the soldier’s home of record, which was usually the place where they lived prior to entering the military.  For those who had no US address, their petition would be filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. 


          See also the USCIS’s page on Military Naturalization During WWII for more information about this process.


          Court records regarding naturalization will usually be in the National Archives facility serving the state in which the Federal court is located. No central index exists. See Naturalization Records for more information about these records.


          If an individual naturalized September 27, 1906 to March 31, 1956 there should have been a Certificate File (C-File) created by INS to document the naturalization proceedings. C-Files are in the custody of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Genealogy Program.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


          [Information provided by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]