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Interpretation 325.1 Naturalization of noncitizen nationals.
The statutes prior to the Act of June 29, 1906, made provision for the naturalization of aliens only. Nationals of the United States who were neither citizens nor aliens
were unable to acquire United States citizenship by judicial naturalization.
The above situation was corrected by the 1906 Act
which contained provisions permitting noncitizen nationals to become citizens upon a modified compliance with the then existing provisions relating to the naturalization of aliens generally.
However, section 7 of the Act of July 14, 1870 (sec. 2169, R.S., 1878), restricting naturalization on racial grounds,
) survived the 1906 enactment and limited the effectiveness of the new provisions.
The Act of October 14, 1940, which replaced the 1906 legislation also provided for the naturalization of noncitizen nationals
in terms which are identical with those of current section 325 except for the physical-presence requirement found therein. Racial restrictions, however, continued to be a limiting factor until their complete elimination by the present law.
Thus, for the first time all noncitizen nationals of American Samoa and Swains Island, the only remaining "outlying possessions"
since enactment of the current statute, are now eligible to naturalization under the special provisions relating to noncitizen nationals.
Immigration requirements inapplicable
. Since noncitizen nationals are not aliens, they are not subject to the immigration laws
and are entitled to free entry into the United States in a manner comparable to that enjoyed by citizens. As a consequence, a record of their admissions to the United States is not a statutory requisite, and the certificate of arrival required for naturalization generally under the statutes that preceded the present law
was unnecessary in connection with their naturalization thereunder.
State residence and verification of entry
Six months' State residence required
. While current section 325 specifically provides that a noncitizen national's residence in an outlying possession shall count as residence in the United States for naturalization purposes, the section is completely silent as to whether any part of the former residence may be counted as residence in a State for the purpose of meeting the six months' State residence requirement. Based upon a recent decision by the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii,
the Service holds that a noncitizen national who files a petition under current section 316(a) or 319(a) must establish that he has actually resided in the State where the petition is filed for a period of at least six months immediately prior to the filing date, notwithstanding his eligibility for section 325 benefits. (
Verification of entry to confirm six months' State residence
. Where State residence for a year or less is alleged, or circumstances render questionable the extent thereof,
verification of the claimed date of the petitioner's arrival in the United States should be sought, in an effort to confirm compliance with the State residence requirement. While immigration records will not reflect the petitioner's admission, it may be possible to verify his arrival from a passport used at time of entry, declaration records of the Bureau of Customs, or records of transportation lines.
Intention to reside permanently in the United States.
A noncitizen national who establishes his eligibility to count residence and physical presence in the outlying possessions as residence and physical presence in the United States, as provided for in current section 325, and who intends to resume residence in an outlying possession immediately after naturalization, is regarded as having met the basic requirement that a petitioner for naturalization intend to reside permanently in the United States.
. Certain Puerto Ricans who did not acquire United States citizenship under special congressional grants
could gain such status by a simplified form of naturalization under section 5 of the Act of March 2, 1917, and section 2 of the Act of March 4, 1927.
The above proceedings, which required only the taking of an oath of allegiance to the United States, had to be completed within the limited period of time specified by the statutes. However, the same privilege and procedure were revived as section 322 of the Act of October 14, 1940, with respect to persons born in Puerto Rico of alien parents, and continued to be effective until the enactment of the present law.