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naturalization, official act by which a person is made a national of a country other than his or her native one. In some countries naturalized persons do not necessarily become citizens but may merely acquire a new nationality. There is no such limitation in the United States; the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution declares that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” and subject to U.S. jurisdiction are citizens. Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution gives Congress the power to enact uniform naturalization laws. These laws require the renunciation of previous national allegiance (see expatriation).

Under the first American statute (1790) all unindentured white males who had lived in the United States for two years might become citizens. The period of residence was lengthened to five years in 1795 and, as a result of xenophobic sentiments then prevalent, to 14 years in 1798. In 1802, the term was reduced to five years, which remains the usual term. The McCarran-Walter Act (1952; amended, 1965) revised and recodified the entire body of immigration and naturalization regulations. By the terms of this act, declarations of intention two years before naturalization were eliminated, and naturalization could be granted 30 days after petitioning, following rigorous examination. The act introduced seditious behavior, discovery of fraud, and prolonged absences abroad as grounds for cancellation of naturalization, although the implementation of these provisions was limited by subsequent Supreme Court decisions. The act is administered by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

The petitioner for naturalization must meet several requirements, including the ability to read and speak English. He or she must also swear to support the Constitution, and must be adjudged of good moral character. The actual conferring of citizenship is in most cases the action of a federal court. Children under 18 become citizens automatically upon the naturalization of one or both parents. Minor children adopted abroad by American citizens now automatically become citizens as a result of the Child Citizenship Act (2000); previously the children did not become citizens unless they were naturalized.

The process of naturalization in some circumstances is shortened for members of the U.S. armed forces and for the spouses of American citizens, and there are certain exceptions made by means of private immigration and naturalization bills passed by Congress. In addition to individual acts of naturalization, whole populations may be naturalized. An example is the conferring of citizenship at various times in U.S. history on the populace of Texas, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

See also immigration.


See F. G. Franklin, The Legislative History of Naturalization in the United States (1906, repr. 1969).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



one of the results of introducing plants or animals into a new environment. The naturalization of an organism can involve metabolic changes. The range of these changes is defined by an organism’s potential phenotypic variance. For example, many weeds and animal pests have a wide potential phenotypic variance for their genotypes and, thus, are distributed in various regions of the earth. When naturalization occurs, the genetic structure of the population or species does not change. Sometimes, the transplantation of plants or animals to regions where conditions are identical with those of the original habitat is considered to be naturalization.



the admission to citizenship in a state of a person not a citizen of the state by birth. Naturalization occurs both in cases in which citizenship is acquired by a person of no prior citizenship and in which a person exchanges one citizenship for another. Each state establishes its own legal means of acquiring naturalization. In the USSR, Soviet citizenship is granted on the personal application of an alien or stateless person to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR or to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union republic in which the applicant resides.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
These EUS findings are consistent with the aforementioned histologic findings of chronic anisakiasis: denaturalized larvae and abscess or granuloma formation in the submucosa.
On the contrary, in such critical formulations as Lacan's, phallocentrism and homophobia become mere denaturalized (albeit still traumatic) elements of dominant discourse.
In the place of the law of heterosexual coherence, we see sex and gender denaturalized by means of a performance which disavows their distinctness and dramatizes the cultural mechanism of their fabricated unity.(9)
From the introduction of the clock to the incarceration of unmarried women, the California natives were "confined, restrained, disciplined, denaturalized" (p.
During World War I, a number of states denaturalized those guilty of "anti-national conduct or attachment to the enemy".
The exertion of this unique and solitary being in the struggle against a "constructed" world, a being determined to salvage his relationship with nature, amounts to an eloquent and somewhat melancholy expression of a longing for some lost bond with the sublime, a relationship that might perhaps survive denaturalized and commodity-ridden contemporary reality.
The paradox at the heart of modern adoption is that it both naturalized and denaturalized kinship.
And yet even here we might say she engaged in a kind of denaturalized, theatrical marking--evident in her career-long interrogation of the frame, which is often indistinguishable from the proscenium in her work (see, for instance, her "Regional Pieces" of 1975 and 1976, in which paintings of fish are set off by celastic "curtains").
He notes that the British appear to have confined patients not because their behavior was "anomalous or deviant" but instead "because they drew attention to structures of power in ways which denaturalized those structures." These patients' disorders allowed them to speak what other Nigerians only thought.
These must be some of the most denaturalized landscapes ever pictured.
These books were instruction manuals in attitudes and desires that should have been "natural" to men and women, thus they actually denaturalized those attitudes and desires.