An alien or non-citizen national of the United States who dies due to injury or disease suffered during active duty with the US Armed forces during particular period of military warfare is granted US citizenship under the amended Public law 101-249. A certificate of citizenship is issued as a result if the Form N-644 is approved in the name of the departed veteran. As a result it establishes that the decedent is a US citizen as of the date of her/his death.
An honorary status glorifying the martyrs and heroism of the veteran is this posthumous citizenship. Under the section 319(d) of the INA this certificate allows succeeding family members to apply for benefits or remain categorized as immediate relatives for getting lawful permanent residence.
When and who may file Form N-644,
The filing of the application must be done within two years after the decedent’s date of death. It can be filed by one with the relationship to the decedent as spouse, parent, children or sibling. As a representative of the decedent in case you are manager or organizer of the decedent’s estate also you may apply. Also if you are custodian, conservator or board of decedent’s next of kin you are a representative of the decedent and can apply for US citizenship for him/her. In case you are from a service organization which the department of veteran affairs recognizes or the secretary of defense or the designee of the secretary with USCIS following a request from next of kin you are considered a representative of the decedent and hence eligible to file Form N-644.
Eligibility requirements to file
The decedent who qualifies for posthumous citizenship must be an alien or non-citizen national of US and meet one of the following requirements:
Documents required for filing Form N-644
Decedent’s service and death documentation
A legible photocopy of each of the following required to facilitate recognition of the decedent’s military service and death connected to service by the executive departments:
A translated English copy is required if any of the documents are not in English. The certification process will be delayed if any of these documents are not submitted but may not result in automatic denial of application.
Where to file Form N-644,
The form must be submitted to the following address:
USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10360
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607
For this application no filing fee is collected. Any changes in the address must be informed to the USCIS. Once the application is submitted it would be checked for completeness and correct support documents and evidences the decision would be notified in writing. No interview is involved is application is approved but if applicant stays outside US he/she may be required to appear at the closest embassy or consulate to sign for the citizenship certificate.