Congratulations. You have successfully passed your Naturalization interview. You have proven that you have good moral character and that you have met the continuance residence and physical presence requirements (see prior blogs). It is now time for the final step in becoming a U.S. citizen, i.e. attend an Oath Ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance.
USCIS will send you a Notice telling you the time, date and place of your Naturalization Oath Ceremony. It will also include questions about you and your activities between your interview date and the date of your ceremony. Be sure to complete the questionnaire before the ceremony.
Arrive early and check in so that an officer can check your Alien Registration Card and other picture identification to confirm that your name is on the list of people to be naturalized. The officer who checks you in will also review the questionnaire to assure that nothing relevant has changed since your interview. If you answer “yes” to any question on the questionnaire, the officer will ask you for additional information to reconfirm your eligibility to Naturalize. Your green card will be collected before or after the ceremony.
After you have checked in you will be directed to the area where the ceremony will be conducted. There are usually several speakers welcoming you as citizen of the United States before you take the Oath of Allegiance.
The Oath that you will be taking is:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
By taking the Oath you promise to:
- Renounce all former allegiances;
- Support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States;
- Pledge allegiance to only the United States;
- Fight in the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces;
- Perform civilian service in the U.S.;
- Take the oath without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
- Swear that your oath is true.
Note: 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, USCIS will permit these applicants to take a modified oath. You have to provide documents supporting your religious beliefs such as verification of your membership in the religion and source of religion’s position against serving in the military to the USCIS.
Once you have taken the Oath, you will receive your Naturalization Certificate. This is proof that you are a citizen of the US. You should apply for a US passport soon after your naturalization. If you lose your Naturalization Certificate, it may take up to 1 year to receive a new one. Having a U.S. passport will allow you to prove your U.S. citizenship.
I hope the material in this article has been helpful but keep in mind it is informational only and not legal advice. Immigration Law can be complicated and mistakes can have severe consequences. If you have legal questions, please contact us. It will be my pleasure to assist you.