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 service member’s death and in accordance with the form instructions and with appropriate fee. [4] See 8 CFR 103.7. 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] 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).