The Naturalization Oath Ceremony

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A Guide to Your Citizenship Oath Ceremony

Being a citizen of the United States offers plenty of opportunities and advantages. If you or the people you love are interested in becoming American citizens, naturalization is one way to do this. Qualified green card holders must apply for naturalization to become U.S. citizens.

In this piece, we discuss naturalization as one of the pathways to U.S. citizenship and what to expect during naturalization ceremonies. Continue reading to learn more about naturalization interview preparation, the importance of the naturalization interview process, and other related matters.

What Is Naturalization?

Naturalization is the process wherein a lawful permanent resident (LPR) is granted U.S. citizenship. Naturalization is not automatic. You have to be eligible and pass certain tests before citizenship is granted.

While requirements can vary by case, generally, an applicant must be:

  • At least 18 years old at the time of filing the application

  • A green card holder

  • Continuously residing in the U.S. for at least five years (three years for spouses of U.S. citizens)

  • Physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months

  • Living for at least three months in the state or district where they are claiming to be a resident

Since these are general requirements, you have to know if there are specific requirements that apply to your situation. Speak with experienced immigration lawyers if you need help with your naturalization application. Knowing the process and requirements with the help of a lawyer will help you avoid delays and costly mistakes.

What Are the Key Steps to Naturalization?

After knowing the requirements and your eligibility to apply, here are the necessary steps to follow:

  1. Complete, sign, and submit Form N-400: You can access the form at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. When you submit the form, you must also submit the documents requested. Submitting incomplete documents may delay the processing of your application.
  2. Go to your biometrics appointment.
  3. Complete the naturalization interview: Make sure to attend on the scheduled date. Re-scheduling may add additional months to your application process. Prepare well ahead.
  • Go to the USCIS office and bring your appointment notice.

  • As part of your naturalization interview, expect to answer questions related to your Form N-400.

  • You may also take English and civics tests.

  1. Receive a decision from the USCIS on your Form N-400: The written notice of decision states whether your application is granted or denied. You may appeal the decision if the application is denied. Talk to your lawyer as soon as possible to know how to appeal this decision.
  2. Receive your notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.
  3. Attend the naturalization oath ceremony: Make sure to attend the oath ceremony. You won’t be considered a US.. citizen unless you take the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony.

What Is the Naturalization Oath Ceremony?

Taking the Oath of Allegiance is the final step to naturalization. A USCIS official administers the oath in an administrative ceremony. If it is a judicial ceremony, the judge administers the oath. After taking the oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

This formal ceremony should have significant importance to you. The Oath of Allegiance is a sworn declaration that states your promises as a citizen of the United States, and it dates back to the 18th century.

When you take the oath, you declare to fulfill the following duties of a citizen of the United States:

  • Support and defend the U.S. Constitution and its laws.

  • Give up your allegiance to your former country or any other country or sovereign.

  • Renounce your hereditary or noble titles, if any.

  • Provide military service or civilian service when called upon by the government.

Preparing for the Ceremony

When you take your Oath of Allegiance during your naturalization ceremony, you pledge your loyalty to the country. Make sure to prepare well. Here are some essential things that will happen on the day of the ceremony:

  1. Complete the questionnaire Form N-445. The USCIS officer will review this form when you check in on the date of your ceremony.
  2. Return your permanent resident card unless it was lost or for some other valid reason.
  3. Take the oath.
  4. Receive your naturalization certificate. Carefully review the details in the certificate before leaving the venue. Notify the USCIS for any errors.

Your Rights and Duties as a U.S. Citizen

When you become a citizen through the naturalization process, you have the rights and responsibilities that all citizens of the United States have. Some of these rights include the following:

  • Right to vote

  • Right to run for elected office

  • Right to be employed in jobs requiring U.S. citizenship

  • Freedom of expression

  • Freedom of religion

  • Freedom to move without the need for immigration forms

  • Greater access to government assistance programs

Of course, as a natural consequence, U.S. citizenship also carries the following responsibilities, among others:

  • Participate in democratic processes

  • Respect and obey the laws

  • Serve the country as needed

  • Serve your jury duty

  • Pay taxes

  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others

There are instances when a naturalized citizen wants to keep their citizenship in the country where they originated. The Oath of Allegiance speaks about renunciation of one’s allegiance and fidelity to other nations. However, the United States does not explicitly require a person to give up their citizenship in the country of origin, hence the concept of dual citizenship.

To know more about matters relating to dual citizenship, speak with an experienced immigration attorney.

After the Ceremony—Next Steps

Congratulations on obtaining U.S. citizenship! After the ceremony, be sure to update your Social Security record and apply for a U.S. passport. Usually, you will get an application form at your ceremony in the U.S. citizenship welcome packet.

Remember to register to vote. The voter registration will also be available at your naturalization ceremony.

Other things that you should consider doing after obtaining U.S. citizenship may include the following:

  • If you have a child/children, obtain a certificate of citizenship for your child/children

  • Update your driver’s license

Now that you are a citizen, you can also sponsor family members to come to the U.S.

Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, Is Here for You

The naturalization process is simple and easy. However, problems could occur along the way and may require legal knowledge and experience.

If you need help with the naturalization process or other immigration-related matters, experienced immigration lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, can help.

Headquartered in Texas, our law firm provides personalized and customized legal services to those who seek to achieve their American dream. Before you submit your application for naturalization or attend your interview, let us help prepare you for what’s to come.

Let our lawyers guide you as you navigate the citizenship process to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation!