United States World War I Naturalization and Citizenship

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Index to Naturalizations[edit | edit source]

Aliens serving in the U.S. military did not gain citizenship through service alone. The naturalization of soldiers was performed under certain provisions of nationality law facilitating the naturalization of members of the U.S. armed forces. These provisions (Act of May 9th,1918) waived the Declaration of Intention requirement and waived or reduced the residency requirement. Thus many soldiers filed petitions and were naturalized the same day.

The expedited naturalization of soldiers could have been performed at either a Federal, State or local court having jurisdiction over the soldier's military base, or a judge from any of those courts might have held "naturalization court" at the military base. In either case, one copy of the petition should be on file in the court's records. Another copy was filed with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which holds duplicate copies of all naturalizations granted after September 26, 1906. To locate a World War I soldier's naturalization, begin by searching the Index to Naturalizations of World War I Soldiers. 1918, among the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and microfilmed as M1952. Note: Not all U.S. military bases are included on this index.

If the soldier's name appears in the index file, the index card will contain the soldier's name, date of naturalization, court of naturalization (indicated by court number), certificate number, and name of the military base to which the soldier was assigned as of that date. The court number can be converted to the name of an actual court (i.e. U.S. District Court, Trenton, NJ) by reference to the Directory of Courts having Jurisdiction in Naturalization Proceedings. (FHL 1730286) (Worldcat)

If the soldier's name does not appear in the index file, the researcher may file a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request to the Headquarters, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), Washington, D.C. 20536, using Form G-639 (identifying the soldier by name, date of birth, and place of birth). A search of BCIS records will be determine whether the alien ever naturalized anywhere in the United States, under military or any other provision of U.S. nationality law.[1]

National Park Service

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Related Publications

  • Nancy Gentile Ford. Americans All!: Foreign-born Soldiers in World War I. Texas A & M University Press, 2001.
  • Dennis A. Connole. America's Foreign Legion. Immigrant Soldiers in the Great War. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2019.

Where to Find the Records[edit | edit source]


FamilySearch Catalog

National Archives

Training Camps[edit | edit source]


  • Locate these records at a library using Worldcat.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Marian L. Smith. New Means and New Machinery:the Problem of World War I Soldier Naturalization Research. NGS Magazine (April/May/June, 2005):23-28.
  1. Description of records on this page taken from United States. National Archives and Records Service. Pamphlet Describing M1952: Index to Naturalizations of World War I Soldiers, 1918. Washington, D.C., National Archives And Record Service, Pub. date unknown.