Once you’ve passed the naturalization interview, you’ll be scheduled to take the Oath of Allegiance. The Oath may be taken at a USCIS office or a U.S. federal courthouse.
What is an Oath Ceremony?
All naturalization applicants must attend an Oath ceremony, and swear their allegiance to the United States. After the applicant attends this ceremony and takes the Oath, they become an American Citizen.
What is the Oath of Allegiance?
The Oath is a series of promises that a naturalization applicant makes to the United States. The Oath includes the following commitments:
- To give up allegiance to all foreign states and governments;
- To support and defend the Constitution and the United States;
- To bear arms on behalf of the United States; and
- To perform civil service duties on behalf of the United States;
When Will My Oath Ceremony be Scheduled?
You could have your Oath ceremony the same day as your naturalization interview, a few days later, or you may receive a notice in the mail. How long it takes depends on two factors (1) how many applicants USCIS has to schedule for a ceremony, and (2) whether your ceremony will take place at a USCIS field office or a federal courthouse.
USCIS field offices run ceremonies more frequently than federal courthouses, so you’ll be sworn in faster if your ceremony will be held at a USCIS field office.
What if I cannot attend my scheduled ceremony?
When you receive your ‘Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony’ in the mail (Form N-445) you’ll return the form to the USCIS office, with a letter explaining why you cannot attend. USCIS will send you another notice with a new date.
How do I Prepare for the Ceremony?
You will need to fill out the ‘Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony’ (Form N-445), that you received in the mail. It has a series of questions that pertain to the time after your interview but before your ceremony. Have you gotten divorced, have you been arrested, things like that.
The other thing you’ll do is to get certain documents together. You’ll need to bring the following documents to the ceremony:
- Your ‘Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony’ letter;
- Your permanent resident card (green card);
- A photo ID (driver’s license, passport, state ID);
- Any travel documents (re-entry permits, advance parole documents, or refugee permit);
- Anything else the officer instructed you to bring.
What happens at the ceremony?
You’ll check-in and turn in your green card, and the form N-445 that you filled out. The officer will give you a welcome packet and instruct you where to sit. Typically, you’ll watch a video of the President, and other government officials. You and the other applicants will stand, raise your right hand, and recite the Oath of Allegiance. After you take the Oath of Allegiance, you will receive your Naturalization Certificate. You should review this certificate for any errors.
Who can I bring to the ceremony?
There is no hard and fast rule as to the number of guests you can bring, but be mindful of capacity issues, and that there may be hundreds of other people taking the Oath that day. The ceremony itself takes about an hour; however, you’ll be there for longer as it takes time to usher everyone in and get settled. The ceremony is not suitable for those who cannot sit for more than an hour at a time (for example, small children).
If you would like information about naturalization, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced in both simple and complex naturalization cases. Please feel free to call us at (510) 491-0291 to see how we can help!