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NATURALIZATION Residency Requirements
 

Finding an Ancestor in Naturalization Records

Find your ancestor's immigration or naturalization year. Search Passport Applications, Alien Registrations, Almshouse Records, Oaths of Allegiance, Census Records, City Directories, Land Records, Ships Passenger Lists, Newspapers or Voters Registrations
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USA-Wide Naturalization Records

Changes in Requirements, 1700s to Present

Pre-1790 British immigrants were automatically citizens of the colonies (British empire). A few Protestant immigrants from other countries gave oaths of allegiance or appeared before a civil authority to request citizenship (a process sometimes referred to as denization). Seven of the original colonies had their own laws for naturalizing foreigners as citizens of the British empire colony. After the Revolutionary War, the individual states established their own naturalization laws and procedures.

1790 The first federal law regarding naturalization required residency in the United States for two years and in a state for one year, but each state continued to provide naturalization under a variety of requirements and procedures until 1906.

1802 to 1868 An individual had to prove residency in a state for one year and in the country for five years. A declaration of intention had to be filed at least two years before the final papers or petition could be filed.

1868 Since 1868 persons who were born in the United States or naturalized have been guaranteed citizenship rights. This included Black Americans but excluded most American Indians until 1924.

1906 to present The Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was created to standardize laws and procedures. Residency in a state for one year and in the United States for five years continues to be a basic requirement.

[Source: FamilySearch.org]


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