U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday said it will no longer require incoming U.S. citizens to pledge that they will "bear arms on behalf of the United States" or "perform noncombatant service" in the Armed Forces as part of the naturalization process.
Those lines are in the Oath of Allegiance that people recite as they become U.S. citizens. But USCIS said people "may" be able to exclude those phrases for reasons related to religion or if they have a conscientious objection.
USCIS said people with certain religious training or with a "deeply held moral or ethical code" may not have to say the phrases as they are naturalized.
The agency said people don't have to belong to a specific church or religion to use this exemption, and may attest to U.S. officials administering the oath that they have these beliefs.