Effective July 21, 2015, new guidance (PA-2015-001) in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance.

Reciting the Oath is part of the naturalization process. Candidates for citizenship normally declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law.

A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection. The new guidance clarifies that a candidate:

  • May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.
  • Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.
  • May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

This guidance updates Volume 12 of the Policy Manual.

To provide feedback on this guidance, please visit Policy Manual for Comment no later than August 4, 2015.