USCIS Policy Manual

VOLUME 12: CITIZENSHIP & NATURALIZATION

PART A: CITIZENSHIP AND NATURALIZATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Chapter 3: USCIS Authority to Naturalize


It has long been established that Congress has the exclusive authority under its constitutional power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization and to enact legislation under which citizenship may be conferred upon persons.[1] See Chirac v. Chirac, 15 U.S. 259 (1817). Before 1991, naturalization within the United States was a judicial function exercised since 1790 by various courts designated in statutes enacted by Congress under its constitutional power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.


As of October 1, 1991, Congress transferred the naturalization authority to the Attorney General (now the Secretary of DHS).[2] See INA 310(a). USCIS is authorized to perform such acts as are necessary to properly implement the Secretary’s authority.[3] See INA 310. In certain cases, an applicant for naturalization may choose to have the Oath of Allegiance[4] See INA 337(a). administered by USCIS or by an eligible court with jurisdiction. Eligible courts may choose to have exclusive authority to administer the Oath of Allegiance. 



Footnotes


1. [^] 

 See Chirac v. Chirac, 15 U.S. 259 (1817).

2. [^] 

 See INA 310(a)(http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-9792.html#0-0-0-7575).

3. [^] 

 See INA 310(http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-9792.html).

4. [^] 

 See INA 337(a)(http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-10309.html#0-0-0-7583).