Hawaii Naturalization and Citizenship

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Naturalization and Citizenship


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Citizenship could be granted during the royal era by a Letter of Denization. Two kinds of letters were issued. One gave a person all rights of citizenship except the right to vote. It was mostly issued to representatives of Hawaii in foreign countries, most of whom had never been in Hawaii. The other gave a person all rights of citizenship including the right to vote. It was for persons who were eligible to become naturalized, and was usually issued to new arrivals who planned to reside in the islands. These records are located at the Hawaii State Archives.


The Family History Library has microfilm copies of Letters of Denization, 1846- 1898, FHL film 1017113 items 1-4, 6

The supreme court also issued Naturalization Records, 1874-1904. These records are located at the Hawaii State Archives for the years 1874 to 1904 and include petitions for 1900 and 1904 FHL film 1015654 They are partially indexed. No naturalizations were issued from 1895 to 1900.

Under the Republic of Hawaii, some individuals who were not citizens of Hawaii were granted Special Rights of Citizenship but this did not grant them naturalization. These records are at the Hawaii State Archives. The Family History Library has a List of British Subjects who have received Special Rights of Citizenship [ca. 1892 to 1898] FHL film 1017113 item 5

Collective Naturalization

All persons who were citizens of the Republic of Hawaii on 12 August 1898 were declared citizens of the United States.

Citizenship and Immigration Services

In 1906 the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) was created, forms were standardized and duplicate records created by the court were sent to the INS. To access these records, use the Genealogy Program

For more information on Citizenship see Hawaii Vital Records- Civil Registration under the section on State Records.