USCIS Clarifies Candidate Eligibility to Modify Oath of Allegiance

New guidance provided by USCIS clarifies eligibility requirements for modification of the Oath of Allegiance. Reciting the Oath of Allegiance is part of the naturalization process. As part of the oath, candidates for citizenship typically declare that they will ‘bear arms on behalf of the United States’ and ‘perform noncombatant services in the Armed Forces of the United States’ when required by law.

Candidates may be eligible to exclude these two clauses in certain instances. A candidate may be eligible to exclude the clauses based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical reason. The candidate is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief or have had specific religious training to qualify. The candidate may submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or similar organization, as well as other evidence to establish his or her eligibility.

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