Chapter 8: Posthumous Citizenship (INA 329A)

A. Eligibility for Posthumous Citizenship​

In general, ​a person who serves honorably in the U.S. armed forces during designated periods of hostilities and dies as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service may ​be eligible for posthumous citizenship​.​ [1] See Chapter 3, Military Service during Hostilities (INA 329), Section D, Designated Periods of Hostilities [12 USCIS-PM I.3(D)]. Posthumous citizenship establishes that the deceased service member is considered a citizen of the ​United States​ as of the date of his or her death.​ [2] See INA 329A and 8 CFR 392.

The military branch under which the ​deceased service member ​served will determine whether he or she served honorably in an active-duty status during a qualified period and​whether the ​death was combat related​. ​

Spouses and children of ​U.S.​ citizen service members who qualify for posthumous citizenship may be eligible for immigration benefits under special provisions of the INA.​ [3] See Chapter 9, Spouses, Children, and Surviving Family Benefits [12 USCIS-PM I.9].

B. Application and Filing​

The service member’s next of kin, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary’s designee in USCIS must submit an ​Application for Posthumous Citizenship (​Form N-644​)​ within two years of the s​ervice member’s death and in accordance with the form instructions​ and with appropriate fee​.​ [4] See 8 CFR 103.7.USCIS use​s​ the posthumous citizenship application to verify the deceased service member’s place of induction, enlistment or reenlistment; military service; and service-connected death.​ [5] See 8 CFR 392.2.

The following documents should be submitted along with the completed ​Application for Posthumous Citizenship​, if available:​

DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty​

DD Form 1300, Report of Casualty/Military Death Certificate (or other military or State issued death certificate)​

Any other military or state issued certificate of the decedent’s death​

C. Adjudication​

USCIS will issue a Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-645) in the name of the deceased service member establishing posthumously that he or she was a U.S. citizen on the date of his or her death if the ​Application for Posthumous Citizenship ​is approved.​ [6] See 8 CFR 392.4. See Part K, Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization, Chapter 2, Certificate of Citizenship [12 USCIS-PM K.2]. In cases where ​USCIS denies the Form N-644, USCIS will notify the applicant of the decision and the reason(s) for denial. There is no appeal for a denied posthumous citizenship application.​ [7] See 8 CFR 392.3(d).