Become a US Citizen

The Oath of Allegiance is the final step of naturalization. It is a sworn declaration that every citizenship applicant must recite during a special ceremony in order to become a naturalized US citizen. The Oath ceremony is a tradition initiated in 1778 during the American War of Independence.

The new citizen promises to fulfill the following duties:

  • Support and defend the US Constitution and the laws of the United States.
  • Give up allegiance to any other nation or sovereign, and renounce hereditary or noble titles, if any.
  • Provide military or civilian service when called upon by the government to do so.

Attending this ceremony is a mandatory step, which concludes the naturalization process. It is also an inspiring life experience.

Here is some information as to what to expect before, during, and after the ceremony.

1. Before the Ceremony

Once the US Citizenship and Immigration Services approves your N-400 application, the next step will be to take the Oath of Allegiance. You will be getting a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form N-445) with the date, time, and location of the event. Often, if the USCIS has all of the information and documentation it needs to approve your application during your naturalization interview, your swearing-in ceremony could take place later within the same day.

The Oath ceremony usually takes place at the same location, a USCIS field office, where your interview and exam were held or invited to a different facility where the ceremony are especially held

Note: If you do not attend more than once, the USCIS may deny your citizenship application, which underscores the importance of showing up for your first or, in the worst case, second ceremony appointment.

The USCIS instructs all applicants to dress in attire that “respects the dignity” of the Oath of Allegiance ceremony. The agency specifically prohibits wearing jeans, shorts, and flip flops.

You will need to bring the following:

1.    Your Permanent Resident Card, a.k.a. greencard ( Form I-551). If applicable, you should also bring your USCIS-issued Travel Document or Re-entry Permit.

These documents will be retained upon check and replaced with a Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-550, at the end of the ceremony.

  • If your greencard was lost or stolen, please submit a police report or other proof.
  • You do not have to bring a greencard if you are applying for naturalization based on qualification as military personnel (simply because a greencard was never issued to you).

2.    Your appointment letter (Form N-445)

On the back of the form you should specify if your marital status has changed if you have traveled outside the country, or if you have knowingly committed any crime or offense, for which you have not been arrested.

3.    A second government-issued photo ID: This can include a driver’s license, passport, or state ID.

Please note that some items are prohibited from bringing to the ceremony.

You must arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of your ceremony. After check-in you will be given an American flag, Citizen’s Almanac (Form M-76) and a pamphlet of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution (Form M-654).

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