Citizenship Day

Whether gained through birthright or by using Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, U.S. citizenship is distinctive. It bestows special protections, rights, and duties to Americans in exchange for their allegiance to and support of the United States. Most citizens enjoy benefits like freedom of expression, the right to vote, and due process.

Not every country across the globe endows its citizens with the same advantages as the U.S., and as citizens of this great nation, we know how fortunate we are to live here. That’s why our country celebrates this unique honor by observing Citizenship Day each year.

Preamble of the U.S. Constitution and an American flag
Preamble of the U.S. Constitution and an American flag

When Is Citizenship Day?

Along with Constitution Day, Citizenship Day is celebrated every September 17th to commemorate the day that the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787. Additionally, it is the kickoff of Constitution Week, observed annually from September 17th to the 23rd.

Our Constitution, and especially the first 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, spell out the privileges enjoyed by all U.S. citizens. That’s why Citizenship Day and Constitution Day are celebrated together on this meaningful anniversary.

Citizenship Day is always observed on weekdays, so the date is adjusted when September 17th falls on a weekend or holiday. For example, it’s celebrated on: 

  • Friday, September 16th, if the 17th is a Saturday
  • Monday, September 18th, if the 17th is on Sunday

What Is the History of Citizenship Day?

Citizenship Day’s history begins in the first half of the 20th century. The following timeline explains how this momentous day came to be: 

  • 1939: William Randolph Hearst, an American newspaper magnate and businessman, began advocating for a day set aside to celebrate U.S. citizenship. 
  • 1940: The U.S. Congress proclaimed the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American” Day.
  • 1952: On February 19, 1952, President Truman signed a law to rename “I Am an American” Day as “Citizenship Day” and move it to September 17th.
  • 1956: On August 2, 1956, Congress authorized the U.S. President to annually proclaim September 17th-23rd as “Constitution Week.”
  • 2004: A federal law was enacted to designate every September 17th as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.”

How Does the U.S. Celebrate Citizenship Day?

Citizenship Day is not a federal holiday, which means U.S. businesses and schools remain open on this day. However, many government agencies and organizations hold special events on September 17th to celebrate.

The president often issues a proclamation that calls on:

  • Government officials to display the American flag.
  • Schools and churches to observe this special day with events and ceremonies. 
  • Civic and social organizations to hold events to bring their communities together to reflect on U.S. citizenship and the Constitution.

Congress has also mandated all educational institutions using federal funds to hold an annual Citizenship Day program. The objective of this program is to educate people regarding the Constitution.

How Can I Observe Citizenship Day?

In addition to organized events held by government institutions and citizen groups, you can also find ways to celebrate Citizenship Day yourself or with your family. Potential actions individuals could take to observe this special day include:

  • Discovering more about the Constitution and the citizenship process.
  • Exploring the history of our nation’s founding and the birth of the Constitution.
  • Reflecting on the responsibilities and rights you have or would have as a citizen.
  • Search and post on social media using #CitizenshipDay to connect with others and gain a new perspective on what it means to be a U.S. citizen. Can Get You on the Path to Citizenship

Every September 17th in the United States, Citizenship Day is observed to commemorate our Constitution’s adoption and reflect on what it means to be a citizen. 

It is a day to recognize those who are birthright or naturalized citizens and the immigrants who are currently working toward their U.S. citizenship. At, we provide the tools and assistance immigrants need to navigate the complex world of immigration and naturalization.

Filling out your Form N-400 has never been so easy or error-proof as it is with our automated software and immigration lawyer review. So take our online Qualification Quiz today to see if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen!

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