The Oath Ceremony Guide: Final Step to U.S. Citizenship

If you pass your English language and civics tests and your application for naturalization is approved, you will be scheduled for an Oath ceremony. The moment that you take the Oath of Allegiance is the moment that you officially become a United States citizen; it is a very exciting time. After taking the oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

Following your interview, you may be scheduled for an Oath ceremony later that same day, or you may have to wait up to several months for your ceremony. The notice that tells you when your interview is scheduled is called the N-445, and it also includes a list of what to bring to the ceremony, as well as a questionnaire similar to the questionnaire on the N-400. You must continue maintaining your eligibility up until the date of the Oath ceremony; even though you’ve been approved, it is possible to be turned away at the ceremony due to criminal complications or extended trips outside of the U.S. that occur in between the time of your interview and your Oath ceremony. You should discuss any possible problems with an immigration attorney beforehand. You may reschedule your ceremony if necessary, but you must attend an Oath ceremony to become a citizen.

When the big day arrives, you should dress nicely (similarly to how you dressed for your interview) and arrive about an hour early to give yourself plenty of time to check in before your ceremony. USCIS officials will verify your eligibility by reviewing your N-445 form and collecting your permanent resident card, along with other paperwork. You will be a part of a group that takes the oath together; your group may be large or small.

During the oath, you will pledge your allegiance to the United States, renouncing any allegiances to other countries, and promise to defend the U.S. Constitution and serve in the armed forces when called upon by the government. Based on the intense language of the oath, you might be concerned that it sounds like you need to relinquish your citizenship in your home country. However, this is not the case. The U.S. does not prohibit you from holding dual citizenship. In select cases, the oath can be modified based on religious or ethical beliefs.

To complete the ceremony, you will be handed your new certificate of naturalization. Make sure all of the information is correct, then sign it. You will now enjoy all of the same rights as any U.S.-born citizen. You may vote in local, state, and national elections, apply for a passport, and more. Additionally, you are encouraged to maintain good moral character as a new citizen, which includes demonstrating upstanding moral and ethical behaviour as outlined by USCIS standards for naturalization. This reflects not just on your citizenship status but on your ability to participate fully in civic life.


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