Event in Seoul culminates first overseas ceremonies
Approximately 20 active-duty service members took the Oath of Allegiance and became
the newest U.S. citizens during a special overseas military naturalization ceremony
on October 14, 2004 in Seoul, South Korea, at Yongson Military Base. The ceremony
in Seoul culminates the first overseas military naturalization ceremonies conducted
by the United States Federal Government.
Joining the service members and their families to celebrate the swearing in was
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Deputy Director Michael Petrucelli.
Earlier in the month, USCIS naturalized 34 service members in Iraq and 17 in Afghanistan
"Today, we welcomed as new citizens men and women who had pledged to protect
America's freedom," said Director of USCIS Eduardo Aguirre. "Thousands
of immigrant troops are making extraordinary sacrifices for America. There is
no more fitting way for a grateful nation to demonstrate its appreciation than
through granting qualified service members the privilege of U.S. citizenship as
quickly as possible, to carry out their dream of becoming Americans."
Last November, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2004. The Act amended portions of the Immigration and Nationality
Act to allow for overseas military naturalization ceremonies. Before October 1,
2004, military service members could only naturalize while physically within the