8 U.S. Code § 1421 - Naturalization authority
The sole authority to naturalize persons as citizens of the United States is conferred upon the Attorney General.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), each applicant for naturalization may choose to have the oath of allegiance under section 1448(a) of this title administered by the Attorney General or by an eligible court described in paragraph (5). Each such eligible court shall have authority to administer such oath of allegiance to persons residing within the jurisdiction of the court.
An eligible court described in paragraph (5) that wishes to have exclusive authority to administer the oath of allegiance under section 1448(a) of this title to persons residing within the jurisdiction of the court during the period described in paragraph (3)(A)(i) shall notify the Attorney General of such wish and, subject to this subsection, shall have such exclusive authority with respect to such persons during such period.
Subject to subparagraph (C), the Attorney General shall not administer the oath of allegiance to a person under subsection (a) during the period in which exclusive authority to administer the oath of allegiance may be exercised by an eligible court under this subsection with respect to that person.
Notwithstanding the previous provisions of this paragraph, a court may waive exclusive authority to administer the oath of allegiance under section 1448(a) of this title to a person under this subsection if the Attorney General has not provided the court with the certification described in subparagraph (A)(i) within a reasonable time before the date scheduled by the court for oath administration ceremonies. Upon notification of a court’s waiver of jurisdiction, the Attorney General shall promptly notify the applicant.
The Attorney General shall provide for the issuance of certificates of naturalization at the time of administration of the oath of allegiance.
A person whose application for naturalization under this subchapter is denied, after a hearing before an immigration officer under section 1447(a) of this title, may seek review of such denial before the United States district court for the district in which such person resides in accordance with chapter 7 of title 5. Such review shall be de novo, and the court shall make its own findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall, at the request of the petitioner, conduct a hearing de novo on the application.
A person may only be naturalized as a citizen of the United States in the manner and under the conditions prescribed in this subchapter and not otherwise.
1994—Subsec. (b)(5)(A). Pub. L. 103–416 substituted “district court” for “District Court”.
1991—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–232, § 102(a), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: “An applicant for naturalization may choose to have the oath of allegiance under section 1448(a) of this title administered by the Attorney General or by any district court of the United States for any State or by any court of record in any State having a seal, a clerk, and jurisdiction in actions in law or equity, or law and equity, in which the amount in controversy is unlimited. The jurisdiction of all courts in this subsection specified to administer the oath of allegiance shall extend only to persons resident within the respective jurisdiction of such courts.”
Pub. L. 102–232, § 305(a), substituted “district court” for “District Court”.
1990—Pub. L. 101–649 amended section generally, substituting provisions authorizing Attorney General to naturalize persons as citizens, for provisions granting certain courts exclusive jurisdiction to naturalize.
1988—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 100–525 struck out subsec. (e) which read as follows: “Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405(a), any petition for naturalization filed on or after September 26, 1961, shall be heard and determined in accordance with the requirements of this subchapter.”
1961—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 87–301 added subsec. (e).
1959—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 86–3 struck out provisions which conferred jurisdiction on District Court for Territory of Hawaii. See section 91 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, and notes thereunder.
1958—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 85–508 struck out provisions which conferred jurisdiction on District Court for Territory of Alaska. See section 81A of Title 28, which established a United States District Court for the State of Alaska.
Amendment by Pub. L. 103–416 effective as if included in the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101–649, see section 219(dd) of Pub. L. 103–416, set out as a note under section 1101 of this title.
Amendment by section 305(a) of Pub. L. 102–232 effective as if included in the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101–649, see section 310(1) of Pub. L. 102–232, set out as a note under section 1101 of this title.
For abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service, transfer of functions, and treatment of related references, see note set out under section 1551 of this title.
Alaska was admitted into the Union on Jan. 3, 1959, on issuance of Proc. No. 3269, Jan. 3, 1959, 24 F.R. 81, 73 Stat. c16, and Hawaii was admitted into the Union on Aug. 21, 1959, on issuance of Proc. No. 3309, Aug. 21, 1959, 24 F.R. 6868, 73 Stat. c74. For Alaska Statehood Law, see Pub. L. 85–508, July 7, 1958, 72 Stat. 339, set out as a note preceding former section 21 of Title 48, Territories and Insular Possessions. For Hawaii Statehood Law, see Pub. L. 86–3, Mar. 18, 1959, 73 Stat. 4, set out as a note preceding former section 491 of Title 48.
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