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Chapter 3 Outline


    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. 


    1. [^] 

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

    2. [^] 

     See INA 310(a).

    3. [^] 

     See INA 310.

    4. [^] 

     See INA 337(a).


    Legal Authorities
    INA 310, 8 CFR 310 - Naturalization authority
    8 CFR 2 - Authority of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
    INA 103, 8 CFR 103 - Powers and duties of the Attorney General and the Commissioner


    Date Details
    January 7, 2013

    Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

    ​USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.

    Read more »

    Current as of July 1, 2014