What to Expect at Your Naturalization Oath Ceremony

What to Expect at Your Naturalization Oath Ceremony
What to Expect at Your Naturalization Oath Ceremony

 

Let’s imagine your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, has been approved, and you have attended and passed your U.S. citizenship interview. at an office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In this case, just one important step still lies ahead: You must recite the oath that will allow you to become a fully naturalized U.S. citizen.

What is an Oath Ceremony for U.S. Citizenship?

At the oath ceremony, you will swear your allegiance to the United States and receive your naturalization certificate.

Once you receive this certificate, you can apply for a U.S. passport and vote in national, state, and local elections.

If you have chosen to change your name, your naturalization certificate will reflect your new name, and you can use this name when applying for other official documents like a driver’s license and Social Security card.

When and Where Will the Oath Ceremony Take Place?

Depending on where you live and the oath ceremony schedule in your district, you could be scheduled as soon as the same day you pass your interview, or you might have to wait several months before taking the oath.

It might take place in a small room or a courtroom in a federal or state building or a large stadium or convention center.

Special events are occasionally planned at historical sites like Independence Hall or the US Constitution.

No matter where the oath ceremony is held, this is a momentous occasion, so make sure to wear appropriate clothing.

(This is not the day for jeans, T-shirts, shorts, or flip-flops.)

  • You must attend your oath ceremony appointment unless you request a new date and provide information as to why you cannot attend.
  • You should arrive about an hour in advance of your appointment time, as you will need to check in with a USCIS officer.

This officer will double-check your eligibility and collect all your paperwork.

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What Will I Need to Bring to My Citizenship Oath Ceremony?

You will need to bring Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, which you will either receive after your interview or later in the mail.

This notice will also contain a list of what else you should bring to the oath ceremony, which might include:

  • Your permanent resident card (green card). If you have forgotten it, you can take the oath but will need to return it before you receive your naturalization certificate. If your card has been lost or stolen, you will need to sign a form and might need to provide a police report.
  • Your refugee travel document (if you have one) or reentry permit.
  • Any immigration documents you might have.
  • Your children, if they were also approved for U.S. naturalization at the same time.
  • Any other documents requested by USCIS.

Form N-445 includes a questionnaire that is similar to the one you received on your Form N-400. When you arrive at the oath ceremony, a USCIS officer will collect your Form N-445.

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you might not be allowed to take the oath that day.

For more on these questions and maintaining eligibility before the oath ceremony, see You’re Not a Naturalized U.S. Citizen Until You Take the Oath.

What Am I Pledging to at the Citizenship Oath Ceremony?

When you take the U.S. citizenship oath, you are pledging that you will renounce allegiance to any foreign nations where you have previously held titles or citizenship.

You also declare that you will support and defend the U.S. Constitution.

You agree to bear arms on behalf of the U.S., perform noncombatant service in the armed forces, or perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law.

To be eligible to take a modified oath that omits the section about carrying a weapon and enlisting in the military, you will have to demonstrate that your objection stems from your deeply held moral or ethical principles or from your sincerely held religious beliefs.

What Happens After You Recite the Naturalization Oath?

After you take the oath of allegiance, you will hear a congratulatory speech welcoming you as full-fledged U.S. citizens.

You will also receive your naturalization certificate.

Make sure that all information on the citizenship certificate is correct, sign it, and keep it in a safe place.

For what to do if your certificate is incorrect, go to What Happens If the Information on My Naturalization Certificate Is Incorrect?

You might also have an opportunity to apply for a U.S. passport at this time, depending on whether an official of the U.S. To help the new citizens with that task, the Department of State has come to the ceremony.

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