Let us imagine that your Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization, has been approved. You have also attended and passed your US citizenship interview at a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. One last crucial step left in this situation – taking the oath that will grant you full citizenship in the United States. If you want to know what to expect at the Naturalization Oath Ceremony, continue reading this article.
Andres Mejer is a New Jersey immigration attorney who helps immigrants interested in obtaining naturalization. He has the experience and capabilities to make the naturalization process as easy as possible for you. Give him a call now!
What is the US Citizenship Oath Ceremony?
You will pledge allegiance to the United States and receive your naturalization certificate during an oath ceremony. After receiving this naturalization certificate, you can get a US passport and vote in local, state, and national elections.
If you choose to alter your name, the new name you pick will appear on the naturalization certificate. From there, you could file applications for other documents (such as a Social Security card from the Social Security Administration) with your new name.
What is the Importance of the Oath Ceremony?
The USCIS is committed to increasing the significance of the naturalization ceremony as a platform for recognizing the rights, obligations, and values of citizenship. It is intended that the Oath Ceremony be a happy and unforgettable occasion in the participants’ lives. It upholds the Oath of Allegiance through policies and practices that demonstrate its relevance.
The Oath of Allegiance shows its significance as the climax of the citizenship process. You cannot become a US citizen until you participate in an Oath Ceremony. Following the ceremony, you may be able to enjoy the following:
- Apply for a US passport: you will be given a US citizenship Welcome Packet at the Oath Ceremony. It will include an application form for a United States passport. You may apply for your US passport anytime after your Oath Ceremony. Aside from your Certificate of Naturalization, a US passport serves as legitimate proof of citizenship.
- Register to vote: A US citizen’s right and duty is to vote in government elections. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, you can register to vote in government elections.
- Petition for permanent resident status for family members: You can enjoy all additional benefits and privileges that apply to US citizens.
Where and When Will the Oath Ceremony Be Administered?
Your schedule could be the same day you pass the citizenship interview, depending on your place of residence and the district’s schedule for the oath ceremony, or you may need to wait a few months before you take the oath.
The oath-taking may happen in a courtroom or a small room in a state or federal facility, a big stadium, or a convention center. Historical places like the USS Constitution or Independence Hall are where a special ceremony often takes place. Regardless of where the oath ceremony will take place, this occasion is a significant event, so dress appropriately.
You are required to attend the oath ceremony unless you ask for a new date and explain why you cannot make it. You should be at the venue an hour before your scheduled time since you need to check in with a USCIS officer. This official will confirm if you are eligible and collect all your documents.
What Should I Bring to the Oath Ceremony?
You must bring the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form N 445), which will be given either at the end of the interview or in the mail.
This notice will have a list mentioning things you need to have at the oath ceremony, such as:
- Your permanent resident card (popularly known as a green card). If you forget it, you may take your oath but must surrender it before receiving your naturalization certificate. If your Certificate of Naturalization gets lost, you can request a new one by filing Form N 565, the Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
- Your Refugee Travel Document or re-entry permit (if you have such).
- Any immigration documentation you may have.
- Your children, assuming they, too, are approved for US citizenship at the same time as you.
- Any additional documentation required by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Form N 445 contains a questionnaire the same as the one you got with Form N 400. A USCIS official will take your N-445 when you arrive at the oath ceremony. You could be forbidden from taking the oath at your ceremony if you respond “Yes” to any questions in the form.
Can I Get a US Passport During My Naturalization Oath Ceremony?
If you have heard that you can secure a US passport during the oath ceremony, it’s not true. However, you are not far from this important step.
What Document Will I Receive During My Naturalization Ceremony?
You will be given a crucial document on the day of your naturalization oath ceremony – your “naturalization certificate.” This certificate can be used to prove your citizenship status in various situations, such as family immigration to the United States, but it can’t be used as a substitute for a US passport.
You will not be issued a US passport on the day of your oath ceremony. However, if you prepare ahead of time and give yourself enough time at the end of the ceremony to wait in a long line, you may be able to apply for one in specific areas of the United States. Check if the US State Department will provide personnel to collect passport applications at your oath ceremony.
What Should I Bring if a State Department Official will be Accepting Passport Applications at my Oath Ceremony?
If there is a good chance that there will be someone from the State Department Office to accept passport applications at your oath ceremony, prepare ahead of time by getting two (2) passport-style pictures. It’s essential to hire a professional since these photos must adhere to federal regulations.
It is also a good idea to complete the passport application form (DS-11) BEFORE the oath ceremony to ensure that it is completed and accurate. If you did not get a copy of this form during your naturalization interview with the USCIS, you could obtain one from the State Department’s Passport Application Forms page on their website.
DO NOT SIGN the form until a State Department official is present.
Be ready to pay not just the application fee (which may be found on the State Department’s Passport Fees page), but also the amount to have the finished passport mailed to you.
What Am I Pledging to at the Citizenship Oath Ceremony?
At the oath of citizenship in the United States, you pledge to renounce your allegiance to any other nation where you had held citizenship or titles. You also state that you will support and protect the United States Constitution. When required by law, you commit to bear arms on behalf of the United States, conduct noncombatant services in the armed forces, or do work of national importance under civilian command.
If you want to take a modified oath that excludes bearing arms and participating in the armed forces, it must be shown that your objection is grounded on firmly held religious views or a deeply moral, ethical code.
What Will Happen After You Take the Oath of Naturalization?
After you have taken the pledge of allegiance, an official will give you a speech congratulating you on becoming a full-fledged citizen of the United States. You will also receive your certificate of naturalization.
Check that all of the information mentioned in the citizenship certificate is accurate, then sign it and save it somewhere safe.
You may also be able to apply for a US passport during this time if a representative from the US Department of State has attended the ceremony to help new citizens with this task.
Get Legal Help from a New Jersey Immigration Attorney!
We realize how much is at stake when clients encounter immigration issues. If you require competent legal advice for immigration matters, call the law office of Andres Mejer Law. We would be pleased to help you and give you more details on what to expect at the naturalization oath ceremony. Contact us now to schedule a consultation!