[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 141 (Monday, July 24, 1995)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 37803-37804]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-18068]

Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 60, No. 141 / Monday, July 24, 1995 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 37803]]


Immigration and Naturalization Service

8 CFR Part 337

[EOIR No. 104F; AG Order No. 1979-95]
RIN 1125-AA06

Administrative Naturalization: Oath of Allegiance

AGENCY: Department of Justice.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: On February 3, 1995, at 60 FR 6647, the Department of Justice 
published a rule finalizing the procedures implementing an 
administrative naturalization process as provided for by recent changes 
in the immigration laws. This rule will amend those procedures slightly 
by extending concurrent jurisdiction to administer the oath of 
allegiance to Immigration Judges with certain officers of the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service). This change will 
provide a more formal setting for the oath of allegiance and add to the 
solemnity of the occasion upon which a person becomes a citizen of the 
United States. In addition, it will alleviate in some measure the 
burden on Service personnel and resources to hold periodic 
naturalization ceremonies by expanding the responsibility for this duty 
to Immigration Judges.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This final rule is effective July 24, 1995.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gerald S. Hurwitz, Counsel to the 
Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Suite 2400, 5107 
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia 22041, telephone: (703) 305-0470.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title IV of the Immigration Act of 1990 
(Pub. L. 101-649) (IMMACT) transferred jurisdiction over naturalization 
from the judiciary to the Attorney General, subject to judicial review, 
and redefined the naturalization process as an administrative 
proceeding. The Service has recently published comprehensive changes to 
the rules of procedure governing the naturalization process, and this 
rule is not intended to affect those measures. However, while the 
statutory authority for naturalization conferred jurisdiction on the 
Attorney General, this authority had been delegated to the Service. The 
effect of this rule will be to expand to the Immigration Judges within 
the Executive Office for Immigration Review the authority to administer 
the oath of allegiance, which is taken upon successful completion of 
the application process.
    This final rule has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with 
Executive Order 12866, section 1(b). The Attorney General has 
determined that this rule is not a significant regulatory action under 
Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), and accordingly this rule has not 
been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    The Attorney General, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this final rule and, by approving 
it, certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    This final rule will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 
of Executive Order 12612, it is determined that this rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment.
    Compliance with 5 U.S.C. 553 as to notice of proposed rule making 
and delayed effective date is not necessary because this rule relates 
to rules of agency procedure and practice.

List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 337

    Citizenship and naturalization, Courts, Immigration and 
Naturalization Service.

    Accordingly, title 8, chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations 
is amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for part 337 continues to read as 

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1103, 1443, 1448.

    2. Section 337.2 is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 337.2  Oath administered by the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service or an Immigration Judge.

    (a) Public ceremony. An applicant for naturalization who has 
elected to have his or her oath of allegiance administered by the 
Service or an Immigration Judge and is not subject to the exclusive 
oath administration authority of an eligible court pursuant to section 
310(b) of the Act shall appear in person in a public ceremony, unless 
such appearance is specifically excused under the terms and conditions 
set forth in this part. Such ceremony shall be held at a time and place 
designated by the Service or the Executive Office for Immigration 
Review within the United States and within the jurisdiction where the 
application for naturalization was filed, or into which the application 
for naturalization was transferred pursuant to Sec. 335.9 of this 
chapter. Such ceremonies shall be conducted at regular intervals as 
frequently as necessary to ensure timely naturalization, but in all 
events at least once monthly where it is required to minimize 
unreasonable delays. Such ceremonies shall be presented in such a 
manner as to preserve the dignity and significance of the occasion. 
District directors shall ensure that ceremonies conducted by the 
Service in their districts, inclusive of those held by suboffice 
managers, are in keeping with the Model Plan for Naturalization 
Ceremonies. Organizations traditionally involved in activities 
surrounding the ceremony should be encouraged to participate in 
Service-administered ceremonies by local arrangement.
    (b) Authority to administer oath of allegiance. The authority of 
the Attorney General to administer the oath of allegiance shall be 
delegated to Immigration Judges and to the following officers of the 
Service: The Commissioner; district directors; deputy district 
directors; officers-in-charge; assistant officers-in-charge; or persons 
acting in behalf of such officers due to their absence or because their 
positions are vacant. In exceptional cases where 

[[Page 37804]]
the district director or officer-in-charge determines that it is 
appropriate for employees of a different rank to conduct ceremonies, 
the district director or officer-in-charge may make a request through 
the Commissioner to the Assistant Commissioner, Adjudications, for 
permission to delegate such authority. The request shall furnish the 
reasons for seeking exemption from the requirements of this paragraph. 
The Commissioner may delegate such authority to such other officers of 
the Service or the Department of Justice as he or she may deem 
    (c) Execution of questionnaire. Immediately prior to being 
administered the oath of allegiance, each applicant shall complete the 
questionnaire on Form N-445. Each completed Form N-445 shall be 
reviewed by an officer of the Service who may question the applicant 
regarding the information thereon. If derogatory information is 
revealed, the applicant's name shall be removed from the list of 
eligible persons as provided in Sec. 335.5 of this chapter and he or 
she shall not be administered the oath.
    3. Section 337.3 is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 337.3  Expedited administration of oath of allegiance.

    (a) An applicant may be granted an expedited oath administration 
ceremony by either the court or the Service upon demonstrating 
sufficient cause. In determining whether to grant an expedited oath 
administration ceremony, the court or the district director shall 
consider special circumstances of a compelling or humanitarian nature. 
Special circumstances may include but are not limited to:
    (1) The serious illness of the applicant or a member of the 
applicant's family;
    (2) Permanent disability of the applicant sufficiently 
incapacitating as to prevent the applicant's personal appearance at a 
scheduled ceremony;
    (3) The developmental disability or advanced age of the applicant 
which would make appearance at a scheduled ceremony inappropriate; or
    (4) Urgent or compelling circumstances relating to travel or 
employment determined by the court or the Service to be sufficiently 
meritorious to warrant special consideration.
    (b) Courts exercising exclusive authority may either hold an 
expedited oath administration ceremony or refer the applicant to the 
Service in order for either the Immigration Judge or the Service to 
conduct an oath administration ceremony, if an expedited judicial oath 
administration ceremony is impractical. The court shall inform the 
district director in writing of its decision to grant the applicant an 
expedited oath administration ceremony and that the court has 
relinquished exclusive jurisdiction as to that applicant.
    (c) All requests for expedited administration of the oath of 
allegiance shall be made in writing to either the court or the Service. 
Such requests shall contain sufficient information to substantiate the 
claim of special circumstances to permit either the court or the 
Service to properly exercise the discretionary authority to grant the 
relief sought. The court or the Service may seek verification of the 
validity of the information provided in the request. If the applicant 
submits a written request to the Service, but is awaiting an oath 
administration ceremony by a court pursuant to Sec. 337.8, the Service 
promptly shall provide the court with a copy of the request without 
reaching a decision on whether to grant or deny the request.
    4. Section 337.7 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as 

Sec. 337.7   Information and assignment of individuals under exclusive 

    (a) No later than at the time of the examination on the application 
pursuant to Sec. 335.2 of this chapter, an employee of the Service 
shall advise the applicant of his or her right to elect the site for 
the administration of the oath of allegiance, subject to the exclusive 
jurisdiction provision of Sec. 310.3(d) of this chapter. In order to 
assist the applicant in making an informed decision, the Service shall 
advise the applicant of the upcoming Immigration Judge or Service 
conducted and judicial ceremonies at which the applicant may appear, if 
found eligible for naturalization.
* * * * *
    5. Section 337.8 is amended by revising paragraph (f) to read as 

Sec. 337.8  Oath administered by the courts.

* * * * *
    (f) Withdrawal from court. An applicant for naturalization not 
subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Sec. 310.3(d) of this chapter, 
who has elected to have the oath administered in a court oath ceremony, 
may, for good cause shown, request that his or her name be removed from 
the list of persons eligible to be administered the oath at a court 
oath ceremony and request that the oath be administered in a ceremony 
conducted by an Immigration Judge or the Service. Such request shall be 
in writing to the Service office which granted the application and 
shall cite the reasons for the request. The district director or 
officer-in-charge shall consider the good cause shown and the best 
interests of the applicant in making a decision. If it is determined 
that the applicant shall be permitted to withdraw his or her name from 
the court ceremony, the Service shall give written notice to the court 
of the applicant's withdrawal, and the applicant shall be scheduled for 
the next available oath ceremony, conducted by an Immigration Judge or 
the Service, as if he or she had never elected the court ceremony.
    6. Section 337.9 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as 

Sec. 337.9  Effective date of naturalization.

    (a) An applicant for naturalization shall be deemed a citizen of 
the United States as of the date on which the applicant takes the 
prescribed oath of allegiance, administered either by the Service or an 
Immigration Judge in an administrative ceremony or in a ceremony 
conducted by an appropriate court under Sec. 337.8 of this chapter.
* * * * *
    Dated: July 14, 1995.
Janet Reno,
Attorney General.
[FR Doc. 95-18068 Filed 7-21-95; 8:45 am]