The naturalization ceremony is the final stage of the naturalization process to become a US citizen. The ceremony takes place on a predetermined date notofied to you via mail by USCIS. During your naturalization ceremony, you will take the Oath of Allegiance, after which you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization. Taking the oath is an integral part of completing the process of becoming an American citizen.
There are two types of ceremonies:
- A judicial ceremony where the Oath of Allegiance is administered by the court
- An administrative ceremony where the Oath of Allegiance is administered by USCIS
The naturalization ceremony is a momentous occasion and you are expected to treat it with sanctity and respect. Proper formal attire and diligence is maintained during such a time. Often such ceremonies are organized at historical landmark locations like Independence Hall or the U.S.S. Constitution or depending upon the crowds, at at USCIS office or a stadium.
What Do You Do At The Naturalization Ceremony
At the Naturalization ceremony you take the Oath of Allegiance which is a sworn declaration. Attendance at the oath ceremony is the final step to being naturalized as a U.S. citizen.
At the Oath taking, you solemnly swear to:
- Support and defend the U.S. Constitution and laws against any enemies;
- Give up citizenship of any other country (unless there is an agreement of dual citizenship), allegiance to another nation or sovereign, and renounce any hereditary or noble titles
- Report for military or civilian service when called upon by the government
What To Bring To A Naturalization Oath Ceremony
- Completed Form N-445 - an immigration officer will check this for eligibility
- All other immigration documents requested in the Form N-445 sent to you by USCIS previously (this is not applicable to everyone)
- Your U.S. green card
- Reentry permit, if applicable
- Family, to celebrate the end of your U.S. immigration journey( USCIS puts a limit to total numbers)
Taking the Oath of Allegiance
1. Obtain a notice inviting you to take the Oath of Allegiance
You may be eligible to participate in the naturalization ceremony on the very same day as your naturalization interview. If this is not possible, USCIS will mail you the time, date, and location of your naturalization ceremony, which will be printed on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.
If you are unable to attend the scheduled ceremony, return Form N-445 to your USCIS office with a letter requesting for a new time and date along with the reason of why you are unable to attend the next naturalization ceremony. If you fail to appear more than once for the naturalization ceremony, it may result in a rejection of your application.
2. Arrive at the Ceremony
Upon arrival at the ceremony, check in with a USCIS officer. This officer will evaluate your answers to the questionnaire, Form N-445. Please complete this questionnaire at home before arriving for the ceremony.
3. Surrender your Permanent Resident Card
Hand your permanent resident card (green card) to a USCIS officer when you arrive at your naturalization ceremony. This requirement will be waived if you showed proof during the interview that your card was lost and you were unable to recover it. This requirement is also waived if you were a part of military service and were never given a permanent resident card. Once you become a US citizen, you will no longer need your green card.
4. Take the Oath of Allegiance
You must take this oath at the naturalization ceremony. After taking the oath, you will be able to collect your Certificate of Naturalization.
5. Certificate of Naturalization
When you receive your certificate, be sure to review it carefully. If you notice any mistakes, notify the USCIS immediately of any errors prior to leaving the naturalization ceremony. Your Certificate of Naturalization is an official proof showing that you are an American citizen.
After the Naturalization Ceremony
Once you have completed the naturalization ceremony and received your Certificate of Naturalization, you can get started on the following actions as a new US citizen.
Register to Vote
For details on how to make the above changes or apply for the U.S. passport, please read Steps To Take After Taking The Oath Of Allegiance