Guardianship and Naturalization

Applicants for naturalization are required to appear in person and give testimony under oath. When an applicant is unable to give testimony under oath because of a physical, developmental disability, or mental impairment, a legal guardian, surrogate, or an eligible designated representative is able to complete the naturalization process for the applicant. In such cases USCIS will waive the Oath of Allegiance and the legal guardian, surrogate, or designated representative attests to the applicant’s eligibility for naturalization.

If USCIS finds that an application for Naturalization is unable to give testimony under oath, the following are eligible to act on behalf of the applicant:

  1. A person who a proper court has designated as the applicant’s legal guardian or surrogate and who is authorized to exercise legal authority over the applicant’s affairs; OR
  2. In the absence of a legal guardian or surrogate, a U.S. citizen, spouse, parent, adult son or daughter, or adult brother or sister who is the primary custodial caregiver and who takes responsibility for the applicant.

USCIS will only recognize one designated representative in the following order from highest to lowest priority:

  1. Legal guardian or surrogate
  2. U.S. citizen spouse
  3. U.S. citizen parent
  4. U.S. citizen adult son or daughter
  5. U.S. citizen adult brother or sister

If there is a priority conflict between the persons seeking to represent the applicant and the persons share the same degree of familial relationship, USCIS gives priority to the party with seniority in age.

The person acting on behalf of the applicant must provide proof of legal guardianship, or documentation to establish the familial relationship, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or adoption decree. In addition, the person must provide documentation to establish that he or she has the primary custodial care and responsibility for the applicant (for example, income tax returns, Social Security Administration documents, and affidavits from other relatives). A spouse, parent, adult son or daughter, or adult brother or sister who is not the legal guardian or surrogate must provide evidence of U.S. citizenship.

If you have a relative for whom you are the legal guardian or surrogate, contact us today so that we can assist you with the process of becoming a U.S. Citizen through Naturalization for your relative.

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