Taking the Naturalization Oath

You become a citizen as soon as you take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. In some places, you can choose to take the Oath the same day as your interview. If that option is not available or if you prefer a ceremony at a later date, USCIS will notify you of the ceremony date with a "Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445).

After your application has been granted you will be notified the date and time for your Oath of Allegiance ceremony. USCIS will send you a notice (N-445) - Notice for Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

If more than one day has passed between your interview and the Citizenship Oath ceremony, you will be asked to answer some questions (provided on the back of the N-445). For example, 'Have you traveled out of the US since your interview?'. You should read and mark these questions before you arrive for the ceremony.

Finally, take the oath. You are not a citizen of the US until you take the Oath of Allegiance. An officer will read out each part of the oath and you will be asked to repeat his/her words. To become a citizen, one must take the oath of allegiance.

By doing so, an applicant swears to:

  • Support the Constitution and obey the laws of the U.S.
  • Renounce any foreign allegiance and/or foreign title
  • Bear arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government of the U.S. when required.

In certain instances, where the applicant establishes that he or she is opposed to any type of service in armed forces based on religious teaching or belief, INS will permit these applicants to take a modified oath. You have to provide documents supporting your religious beliefs.

What If You Cannot Go To The Citizenship Oath Ceremony?

If you cannot go to the oath ceremony, you should return the "Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445) that USCIS sent to you. You should send the N-445 back to your local office. Include a letter saying why you cannot go to the ceremony. Make a copy of the notice and your letter before you send them to USCIS. Your local office will reschedule you and send you a new "Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445) to tell you when your ceremony will be.

Responsibilities of a United States Citizen

Citizens of the U.S. have the opportunity and the responsibility to participate in their government.

  • The most important right citizens have is the right to vote. By voting, you have a voice in the government. The people decide who will represent them in the government. Officials can be voted in or out of office. Every person's vote counts the same as another person's vote.
    The right to vote is a duty or responsibility as well as a privilege. It is important for all citizens to vote in every election to make sure that the democratic, representative system of government is maintained. Persons who do not vote lose their voice in the government. Before voting in an election, each citizen should be well informed about the issues and candidates.
  • The government may call upon citizens to serve on a jury. If you are chosen for jury duty, you must stop work and attend the trial as long as you are needed. The members of the jury need to decide the case in as fair a way as they can.
  • Men can be asked to serve in the armed forces. During times of war, any man who is physically able can be called upon to fight for the U.S. In peaceful times, there can be a draft or men and women can enlist voluntarily.

Every person is expected to obey the laws of the community, state and country in which he or she lives. All Americans are expected to respect the rights of others. All persons living in the U.S. are expected to pay the income taxes and other taxes honestly and on time.

To be responsible members of their communities, you can volunteer your services to help obtain needed improvements. Citizens can offer their knowledge and talents to different local organizations or committees. Participation in town meetings, public hearing and community projects is important for community improvement and for finding out the problems that need to be solved.

Naturalization Certification

Once you have taken the Oath, you will receive the Certificate of Naturalization. This document is proof that you are a citizen of the US. You should apply for a US passport after your naturalization, since it is easier to carry a passport than a certificate of naturalization. Moreover, if you lose your certificate of Naturalization, it may take up to 1 year to receive a new one. You can get an application for a US passport after the US Citizenship oath ceremony or at any post office.

(Click here for more information on how to obtain a US passport and what to do in case you lose your certificate of naturalization.)

IMPORTANT WEBSITES:
www.uscis.gov