After women gained suffrage with the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, Congress swiftly enacted this law to restore citizenship to U.S.-born women who had married non-citizen husbands and thereby lost their citizenship under the Expatriation Act of 1907. This law addressed the discriminatory law that set married women’s citizenship according to that of their husbands and enabled white women to retain their U.S. citizenship despite marriages to foreign men. This right did not, however, extend to women who married “aliens ineligible for citizenship,” especially Asian immigrant men.
CHAP. 411 .-An Act Relative to the naturalization and citizenship of married women.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the right of any woman to become a naturalized citizen of the United States shall not be denied or abridged because of her sex or because she is a married woman.
SEC. 2. That any woman who marries a citizen of the United States after the passage of this Act or any woman whose husband is naturalized after the passage of this Act, shall not become a citizen of the United States by reason of such marriage or naturalization ; but, if eligible to citizenship, she may be naturalized upon full and complete compliance with all requirements of the naturalization laws . . . .
SEC. 3. That a woman citizen of the United States shall not cease to be a citizen of the United States by reason of her marriage after the passage of this Act, unless she makes a formal renunciation of her citizenship before a court having jurisdiction over naturalization of aliens : Provided, That any woman citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship shall cease to be a citizen of the United States . . . .
SEC. 4. That a woman who, before the passage of this Act, has lost her United States citizenship by reason of her marriage to an alien eligible for citizenship may be naturalized as provided by section 2 of this Act . . . .
SEC. 5. That no woman whose husband is not eligible to citizen husband ship shall be naturalized during the continuance of the marital status . . . .
Approved, September 22, 1922 .