What To Expect At The Citizenship Ceremony

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The naturalization process consists of filing form N-400, getting fingerprinted, taking an English and Civics test, attending an interview and finally taking the Oath. After you go the the process successfully, the final step is attending a ceremony and taking the Oath of Allegiance to the US.

The USCIS will inform you about the time and date of your ceremony and will send a “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony” (Form N-445). You can also choose to take the oath on the same day as your interview. Ensure that you go to the Oath ceremony at least half an hour before the scheduled time.

Along with you, many others will get naturalized. If you cannot attend the ceremony on the said date, you have to notify USCIS by returning the notice (Form N-445) to your local USCIS office. While returning the notice, remember to include a letter explaining why you cannot attend the ceremony and request the USCIS to have the ceremony at a later date.

Make sure you dress in formal wear. You have to hand over your Permanent Resident Card (green card) to the USCIS. As you will receive your citizenship certificate at the ceremony, you no longer need your green card. Should there be a gap in the number of days between your interview and the ceremony, you will be asked a few questions. The back of the notice (Form N-445) will have the probable questions you will receive from the USCIS officials. Generally, questions will be related to an travel outside the US during the waiting period. Prepare yourself by reading the questions carefully. You can also write down the answers before you go for ceremony.

Reciting the Oath of Allegiance is mandatory for all naturalization applicants. It should be recited at the ceremony in front of a USCIS official. After you complete reciting, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization. If, due to some reasons you cannot take the complete Oath of Allegiance as given, you have to indicate it in writing either at the time of filing your naturalization application or during your scheduled interview.

Note that you should have well founded reasons and you should be able to explain why you need to take a modified version of the Oath of Allegiance. While requesting a modified version, you have to highlight the words in the Oath that you want to be exempted from reciting. You are required to give a detailed explanation regarding why the words in the Oath are against your religious belief. You will be required to provide additional evidence to affirm your request for a modified version of the Oath of Allegiance.

Once you finish reciting the Oath, you will get your Naturalization Certificate. You can use this as proof of your American Citizenship. Go to your nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office to update your immigration status as a US citizen. Applying for a US passport and registering to vote are the other things you can do once you get your naturalization certificate.

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