Congratulations! You’re nearly a U.S. citizen. The Oath Ceremony is the final step of the naturalization process.

Do you want to know what to expect at the Naturalization Ceremony? First of all—don’t worry. All the hard work is done. You’ve completed the naturalization application and passed the citizenship interview and test. Well done! The last part is easy.

The main event of the Naturalization Ceremony is the Oath of Allegiance. In some cases, you may participate in a ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a ceremony is unavailable, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will mail you a notice with the date, time and location of your scheduled interview.

What To Expect at the Naturalization Oath Ceremony

Check-In

When you first arrive at the ceremony, you’ll need to check in with the USCIS officer. The officer will review your responses on the questionnaire, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. You’ll want to complete your responses before you arrive. The questions are below, all of which require a “yes” or “no” answer:

AFTER the date you were first interviewed on your Application for Naturalization, Form N-400:

  1. Have you married, or been widowed, separated or divorced? (If “Yes,” please bring documented proof of marriage, death, separation or divorce.)
  2. Have you traveled outside of the United States?
  3. Have you knowingly committed any crime or offense, for which you have not been arrested?
  4. Have you been arrested, cited, charged, indicted, convicted, fined or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance, including traffic violations?
  5. Have you joined any organization, including the Communist Party, or become associated or connected therewith in any way?
  6. Have you claimed exemption from military service?
  7. Has there been any change in your willingness to bear arms on behalf of the United States; to perform non-combatant service in the armed forces of the United States; to perform work of national importance under civilian direction, if the law requires it?
  8. Have you practiced polygamy, received income from illegal gambling, been a prostitute, procured anyone for prostitution or been involved in any other unlawful commercialized vice, encouraged or helped any alien to enter the United States illegally, illicitly trafficked in drugs or marijuana, given any false testimony to obtain immigration benefits, or been a habitual drunkard?

Return Your Permanent Resident Card

You are required to return your permanent resident card (green card) when you check in the Naturalization Ceremony. You won’t need your green card any longer as you will receive a Certificate of Naturalization after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

Take the Oath of Allegiance

This is truly the final step to becoming a U.S. citizen! All naturalized citizens are required to take the Oath of Allegiance. It proves your commitment to the United States by promising to:

  • Support the Constitution.
  • Renounce and abjure absolutely and entirely all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which the applicant was before a subject or citizen.
  • Support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
  • Bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law, or perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law, or perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law.

You do not have to memorize the Oath. It reads as follows:

“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.”

Receive Your Certificate of Naturalization

After you take the Oath, you’ll receive your Certificate of Naturalization. This is proof of your U.S. citizenship. Carefully review the certificate and notify the USCIS of any errors before leaving.

What if my permanent resident card (green card) was lost?

If you provided proof during the naturalization interview that the card was lost and you tried to find it, or if you were never granted a card because of military service—the requirement to turn in your card may be waived.

What Do I Do if I Cannot Attend the Ceremony?

If you cannot make the ceremony, you’ll need to return the notice the USCIS sent you (Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony), to your local USCIS office. You’ll need to include a letter requesting a new date and an explanation of why you cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Failing to appear more than once for your naturalization ceremony may lead to denial of your application.