8 USC Sec. 1446 01/05/2009
TITLE 8 - ALIENS AND NATIONALITY
CHAPTER 12 - IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY
SUBCHAPTER III - NATIONALITY AND NATURALIZATION
Part II - Nationality Through Naturalization
Sec. 1446. Investigation of applicants; examination of applications
Before a person may be naturalized, an employee of the Service,
or of the United States designated by the Attorney General, shall
conduct a personal investigation of the person applying for
naturalization in the vicinity or vicinities in which such person
has maintained his actual place of abode and in the vicinity or
vicinities in which such person has been employed or has engaged in
business or work for at least five years immediately preceding the
filing of his application for naturalization. The Attorney General
may, in his discretion, waive a personal investigation in an
individual case or in such cases or classes of cases as may be
designated by him.
(b) Conduct of examinations; authority of designees; record
The Attorney General shall designate employees of the Service to
conduct examinations upon applications for naturalization. For such
purposes any such employee so designated is authorized to take
testimony concerning any matter touching or in any way affecting
the admissibility of any applicant for naturalization, to
administer oaths, including the oath of the applicant for
naturalization, and to require by subpena the attendance and
testimony of witnesses, including applicant, before such employee
so designated and the production of relevant books, papers, and
documents, and to that end may invoke the aid of any district court
of the United States; and any such court may, in the event of
neglect or refusal to respond to a subpena issued by any such
employee so designated or refusal to testify before such employee
so designated issue an order requiring such person to appear before
such employee so designated, produce relevant books, papers, and
documents if demanded, and testify; and any failure to obey such
order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt
thereof. The record of the examination authorized by this
subsection shall be admissible as evidence in any hearing conducted
by an immigration officer under section 1447(a) of this title. Any
such employee shall, at the examination, inform the applicant of
the remedies available to the applicant under section 1447 of this
(c) Transmittal of record of examination
The record of the examination upon any application for
naturalization may, in the discretion of the Attorney General be
transmitted to the Attorney General and the determination with
respect thereto of the employee designated to conduct such
examination shall when made also be transmitted to the Attorney
(d) Determination to grant or deny application
The employee designated to conduct any such examination shall
make a determination as to whether the application should be
granted or denied, with reasons therefor.
(e) Withdrawal of application
After an application for naturalization has been filed with the
Attorney General, the applicant shall not be permitted to withdraw
his application, except with the consent of the Attorney General.
In cases where the Attorney General does not consent to the
withdrawal of the application, the application shall be determined
on its merits and a final order determination made accordingly. In
cases where the applicant fails to prosecute his application, the
application shall be decided on the merits unless the Attorney
General dismisses it for lack of prosecution.
(f) Transfer of application
An applicant for naturalization who moves from the district of
the Service in the United States in which the application is
pending may, at any time thereafter, request the Service to
transfer the application to any district of the Service in the
United States which may act on the application. The transfer shall
not be made without the consent of the Attorney General. In the
case of such a transfer, the proceedings on the application shall
continue as though the application had originally been filed in the
district of the Service to which the application is transferred.
(June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title III, ch. 2, Sec. 335, 66 Stat. 255;
Pub. L. 97-116, Sec. 15(c), Dec. 29, 1981, 95 Stat. 1619; Pub. L.
100-525, Sec. 9(aa), (bb), Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2621; Pub. L.
101-649, title IV, Secs. 401(c), 407(c)(16), (d)(13), Nov. 29,
1990, 104 Stat. 5038, 5041, 5043; Pub. L. 102-232, title III, Sec.
305(f), Dec. 12, 1991, 105 Stat. 1750.)
1991 - Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102-232 substituted "district court"
for "District Court".
1990 - Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 407(d)(13)(A), substituted
"Investigation of applicants; examination of applications" for
"Investigation of petitioners" in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 407(c)(16), (d)(13)(B),
substituted "Before a person may be naturalized" for "At any time
prior to the holding of the final hearing on a petition for
naturalization provided for by section 1447(a) of this title",
"applying" for "petitioning", and "application" for "petition".
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 407(c)(16), (d)(13)(C),
substituted "applications" for "petitions" and "applicant" for
"petitioner" wherever appearing, struck out "preliminary" before
"examinations" and before "examination", struck out "to any
naturalization court and to make recommendations thereon to such
court" before period at end of first sentence, substituted "any
District Court of the United States" for "any court exercising
naturalization jurisdiction as specified in section 1421 of this
title", and substituted "hearing conducted by an immigration
officer under section 1447(a) of this title" for "final hearing
conducted by a naturalization court designated in section 1421 of
Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 401(c), inserted at end "Any such employee
shall, at the examination, inform the petitioner of the remedies
available to the petitioner under section 1447 of this title."
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 407(c)(16), (d)(13)(D), struck
out "preliminary" before "examination" wherever appearing, and
substituted "determination" for "recommendation" and "application"
Subsecs. (d) to (f). Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 407(d)(13)(E), amended
subsecs. (d) to (f) generally, substituting provisions relating to
determinations, withdrawal of application, and transfer of
application, for provisions relating to recommendations, withdrawal
of petition, and transfer of petition, respectively.
1988 - Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 100-525, Sec. 9(aa), substituted
"approves" for "approve" in fourth sentence.
Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 100-525, Sec. 9(bb), struck out before
period at end ", except that the court to which the petition is
transferred may in its discretion, require the production of two
credible United States citizen witnesses to testify as to the
petitioner's qualifications for naturalization since the date of
1981 - Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97-116, Sec. 15(c)(1), struck out
"and the oaths of petitioner's witnesses to the petition for
naturalization" after "oath of the petitioner for naturalization".
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 97-116, Sec. 15(c)(2), (3), redesignated
subsec. (i) as (f) and struck out former subsec. (f) which required
affidavits of at least two credible witnesses, citizens of the
United States, concerning the residency and the good moral
character, etc., of the petitioner.
Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 97-116, Sec. 15(c)(2), struck out subsec.
(g) which related to proof of residence at the hearing on the
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 97-116, Sec. 15(c)(2), struck out subsec.
(h) which related to satisfactory evidence as to good moral
character, etc., at the hearing on the petition.
Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 97-116, Sec. 15(c)(3), redesignated subsec.
(i) as (f).
EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1991 AMENDMENT
Amendment by 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.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1981 AMENDMENT
Amendment by Pub. L. 97-116 effective Dec. 29, 1981, see section
21(a) of Pub. L. 97-116, set out as a note under section 1101 of
ABOLITION OF IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE AND TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS
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.
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
Pub. L. 105-119, title I, Nov. 26, 1997, 111 Stat. 2448, provided
in part: "That during fiscal year 1998 and each fiscal year
thereafter, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made
available to the Immigration and Naturalization Service shall be
used to complete adjudication of an application for naturalization
unless the Immigration and Naturalization Service has received
confirmation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a full
criminal background check has been completed, except for those
exempted by regulation as of January 1, 1997".