The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that candidates for citizenship may omit the pledge to bear arms for the United States or perform non-combat duties for the U.S. military when taking the oath of allegiance. Candidates may forego these pledges if they have a religious or conscientious objection to them.
The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America in its entirety states:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
In its new guidance, the USCIS citizenship candidates may be eligible to skip the passage stating “that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law.” Candidates may be able to omit the language if they have deeply held moral or ethical code arising from their religious training or as a result of conscientious objection. An Illinois immigration lawyer can help determine if a candidate for naturalized U.S. citizenship meets the eligibility requirements.
The USCIS also clarified that candidates do not have to belong to a specific religious organization or have religious training. Candidates have the option of submitting an attestation from a religious or other type of organization to establish eligibility, but this is not required.
Contact an Illinois Immigration Lawyer for More Information
If you’re a candidate for naturalized U.S. citizenship who objects to the pledge to bear arms or perform in a non-combat roll for the U.S. military, an Illinois immigration lawyer can help you establish your eligibility to omit this language from your oath of allegiance. For a free consultation with a local lawyer, contact The Shapiro Law Group at (847) 564-0712 for more information.