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] 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]

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]

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 service member’s death and in accordance with the form instructions and with appropriate fee.[4] USCIS uses the posthumous citizenship application to verify the deceased service member’s place of induction, enlistment or reenlistment; military service; and service-connected death.[5]

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] 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]


[^ 1] See Chapter 3, Military Service during Hostilities (INA 329), Section D, Designated Periods of Hostilities [12 USCIS-PM I.3(D)].

[^ 2] See INA 329A and 8 CFR 392.

[^ 3] See Chapter 9, Spouses, Children, and Surviving Family Benefits [12 USCIS-PM I.9].

[^ 4] See 8 CFR 103.7.

[^ 5] See 8 CFR 392.2.

[^ 6] See 8 CFR 392.4. See Part K, Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization, Chapter 2, Certificate of Citizenship [12 USCIS-PM K.2].

[^ 7] See 8 CFR 392.3(d).

Current as of July 26, 2021