Administrative Naturalization

The Immigration Act of 1990 dramatically changed these procedures and implemented what is known as Administrative Naturalization. Now, authority to naturalize is vested directly in the Attorney General and delegated to the INS. This is intended to expedite and streamline the process, and to reduce backlogs throughout the country.

At the outset the procedure is similar to the old system, an Application for Naturalization is filed with INS. The applicant is called for an interview with an INS Examiner. If eligible in all respects, the Application is approved. The applicant is then scheduled for a ceremony to take the required oath of allegiance to the U.S. and to be issued the Certificate.

The role of the State and Federal Courts is now limited to administering the oath of allegiance, but only if the Court chooses to exercise this option and agrees to do so within forty-five days. Otherwise, the oath is administered directly by the INS in ceremony it conducts.

Where previously INS could only recommend a denial to the Court, it can now issue a formal denial of an application. There is a new procedure for an administrative appeal of a denied application. Eventually, a persistent applicant can still have the matter heard in Court.