Oath of Allegiance and Naturalization Ceremony Explained

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When it comes to naturalization in the United States and applying for U.S. citizenship, there are different aspects of the process you should know about. Once all the testing is finished, there is still more for applicants to do.

For example, the naturalization ceremony is very important for those who have finished the naturalization process. For more information about this ceremony and the oath of allegiance, continue reading.

What Is the Oath of Allegiance?

The oath of allegiance to the United States is a very important step of the naturalization process. It’s simply a sworn declaration that is done under oath, meaning you will uphold all that is promised. In this oath, three main things are generally promised.

  1. To support and defend the United States Constitution against any enemies
  2. To give up any previous citizenship or allegiance to other countries other than the United States
  3. To report for military or civilian services if called upon by the United States government is asked to do so

Reciting this full oath of allegiance to the U.S. and attending the U.S. citizenship ceremony is mandatory for those that are wishing to become a U.S. citizen.

When Does the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance Ceremony Take Place?

This naturalization ceremony will be scheduled on a set once your naturalization process comes to a close. In the mail, you will receive a notice of naturalization oath ceremony, commonly known as Form N-445. In special cases, you may be able to complete the naturalization ceremony and say your oath of allegiance on the same day as your naturalization interview.

Generally, this doesn’t happen for many. Typically, you will receive the form in the mail and respond to the scheduled date. If you are unable to make the date given by USCIS, you will need to contact them and reschedule.

What Should I Bring to the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony?

For the oath of allegiance ceremony, you will need to bring a few special documents with you. Here are the included documents that are required at your ceremony:

  • A copy of Form N-445 and the questionnaire you must complete
  • Your permanent residence card
  • Immigrant documents
  • All requested documents that the USCIS may require

Form N-445 also has a questionnaire that needs to be completed on the day of the ceremony. This form is simply asking questions about eligibility or checking to see if anything has changed within the time before the naturalization ceremony.

What Happens Before the Naturalization Ceremony?

Before the ceremony is scheduled, you will need to complete the full naturalization process, which includes an interview done by USCIS. In this step, and throughout the process, any forms you are given should be saved and brought to the ceremony. So, before the ceremony takes place, you need to gather these forms.

Along with bringing the proper forms, you can begin preparing for the oath. A sheet of paper or projection of the words will show up on a screen during your ceremony, but practicing beforehand is something some individuals might do.

How Should I Dress for the Naturalization Ceremony?

While there is no oath ceremony dress code, it’s expected to dress appropriately and professionally. This means that wearing something casual, such as jeans or sandals, might not be the best option for the occasion.

What Happens During the Naturalization Ceremony?

When the day finally arrives, and you attend the ceremony, it’s a breeze. As previously stated, the oath of allegiance is projected or given to you on a sheet of paper, making it easy to recite. Following this, you will pledge your allegiance further, and you are finished.

After some remarks from USCIS officials, you are officially a U.S. citizen! If you are wondering how long the naturalization ceremony takes, it typically will last anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.

What Happens After the Naturalization Ceremony?

After the naturalization ceremony, you will listen to a congratulatory speech and welcoming remarks. Then, you will receive your naturalization certificate from a USCIS officer. In some cases, this certificate will be sent to the address on your applications.

Looking over the information on this certificate is important, because if any changes need to be made, it’s easier to get them done sooner rather than later.

Special Circumstances

Of course, to every rule, there are exceptions. The same could be said with your naturalization ceremony. Here is a list of some of the special circumstances that could allow you to recite a different version of the oath of allegiance, or not attend your ceremony.

  1. You cannot perform military service due to religious objections: If this is the case, you may be able to leave out some of the wording for this part of the oath for citizenship. However, be sure to provide sufficient proof of religious background so that USCIS can easily be accommodating.
  2. You aren’t willing, or cannot, recite the words “oath” or “so help me God”: In this sort of situation, you can request a modified version of the oath from USCIS. In this case, you won’t be required to provide proof of your reasoning.
  3. You are unable to understand the background of the oath of allegiance due to a medical impairment or developmental disability: Sometimes, for some individuals, USCIS will waive the oath of allegiance requirement. However, in order to do this, you must either provide a written request or a doctor’s evaluation. If approved, you will not need to recite the oath of allegiance.

Enjoy Your Naturalization Ceremony!

Now that you have more background information on the importance of the ceremony oath for naturalization, you can rest assured that the process will go smoothly. As with any legal events, there are fears, but at the end of all the stress and at the end of the naturalization process, the outcome is grand.

Becoming a naturalized citizen in the U.S. is a huge responsibility and a great honor, which is why this ceremony should be a time of happiness and excitement. If you have any further questions and concerns, or wish to seek the help of ImmigrationDirect for your immigration paperwork needs, contact us today.

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