|The Naturalization Process
In the United States, before 1952, the naturalization process began with a Declaration of Intent to become a citizen. This declaration is also referred to as "First Papers." Three years after this declaration was filed, and five years after arriving in the country, a Petition for Naturalization ("Second Papers") could be filed in the same or a different court. A Certificate of Citizenship could then be issued.
Until 1922, a foreign-born woman married to a naturalized citizen was automatically made a citizen. Until 1940, a child under the age of 21 was granted citizenship based on the status of his father. After 22 Sept 1922 an alien woman who married a US citizen could skip the Declaration of Intention and file for a Naturalization Petition. But if an alien woman married an alien man she would have to start her naturalization proceedings at the beginning with a Declaration of Intention.
Jill Cruse provided the images of indexes to original Declarations of Intent from 20 Dec 1855 to 2 Mar 1880. They were transcribed by Don Kelly (A-K) and edited and formatted by Richard Harrison. Original images are included when available. Volunteers are needed to transcribe the remaining documents.
Copies of Naturalization papers or Declaration of Intent can be obtained from the Des Moines County Genealogical Society, PO Box 493, Burlington, Iowa, 52601, for a modest fee, or from the Des Moines County Courthouse.
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