Oath of Allegiance
Once your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is approved, you will be scheduled to attend your naturalization oath ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance, completing the process of becoming a United States citizen. Typically, there are two types of ceremonies: the judicial ceremony, where the court administers the Oath of Allegiance, and an administrative ceremony, where USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.
After taking the Oath of Allegiance you will officially become a US citizen and have the right to vote, apply for and carry a US passport, hold public office, work for the US government, serve as or on a jury, and serve in the US Armed Forces.
After the Citizenship Oath Ceremony
On completion of your oath ceremony, you must:
- Sign your full name on the Certificate of Naturalization: Sign the certificate of naturalization in clear, non erasable format, ensuring it matches the name printed on the Naturalization Certificate.
- Make a copy: You should make a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization after signing it in case it is lost or damaged.
- Store your Certificate of Naturalization: You must store your certificate of naturalization in a secured place where it cannot be damaged or lost. Since you return your green card at the naturalization ceremony, the Certificate of Naturalization will be the only valid proof of your US citizenship. Hence, the need for a secure location.
Other Things to Do After Acquiring US Citizenship
As a US citizen, you can now do the following after completion of the oath ceremony.
Apply for a US Passport or a US Passport card: You must apply for a US passport or passport card through the U.S. Department of State. You will receive an application for the U.S. passport at the naturalization ceremony. This will either be located in the U.S. Citizenship Welcome Package or alternatively, you may obtain the form from the U.S. Post Offices.
The U.S. passport also acts as a valid proof of your US citizenship in the absence of your naturalization certificate.
Individuals who apply for a US passport book will have the following benefits:
- It serves as valid photo identification.
- It serves as a travel document and may be used for both domestic and limited international travel.
A US Passport card is a wallet sized card approved by Department of Homeland Security that can be used to enter United States from Mexico, Canada, Caribbean and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea crossings. However, the US passport card cannot be used for international travel by air but serves as an identification and proof of US citizenship. Individuals who apply for a US passport card will have the following benefits:
- It is less expensive.
- It is wallet sized and therefore, more convenient .
- Containing a secure RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip, it can be used in ready lanes at many land border crossings.
Please ensure there is adequate time between the naturalization ceremony and planned travel dates, in order to receive your passport.
Register to Vote: Voting in federal elections is deemed as a right and responsibility of a US citizen. On becoming a US citizen, you will now be eligible to cast your vote during elections. At your naturalization ceremony, you will have the opportunity to fill out an application, register and submit it to the Election Official. Alternately, you can also register to vote at driving motor vehicle offices, county board of elections, offices of your state Secretary of State and post offices.
Update the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your status: After ten days after your naturalization ceremony, you may update the social security administration of your change in citizenship status by producing your certificate of naturalization or US passport.
o locate your nearest SSA office, please call 1-800-772-1213.
Benefits of updating your status at the social security administration are as follows:
- US citizens are entitled to future social security benefits. By updating your citizenship status you will also be eligible to receive disability, retirement and other benefits depending on your state of residency.
- The social security database is shared with several federal and state agencies. This way, your US citizenship status will be validated with federal and state agencies as well.
- Replacing your social security card will also be easier, now that your US citizenship status is updated in the social security records.