There are two kinds of naturalization ceremonies in the United States at which the Oath of Allegiance is administered: judicial and administrative.
No matter which kind you will participate in, there are certain steps involved with the preparation.
Understanding the requirements
To become a U.S. citizen, you must meet certain requirements:
- You are at least 18 years of age
- You have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen
- You can pass a basic U.S. citizenship test
- You can speak, read and write basic English
When you are ready to become a citizen of the United States, you must first complete the N-400 form, the Application for Naturalization, and submit it to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once USCIS approves your application you will receive another form, N-445, which is the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. If you are unable to attend, you must return this notice to the local USCIS office explaining why you cannot appear and requesting a new date.
Attending the ceremony
Once scheduled, you must bring Form N-445 to the ceremony, having completed the answers to the included questionnaire. At this time, you will also turn in your Permanent Resident Card. The Certificate of Naturalization replaces this card after you have taken the Oath of Allegiance. Before you leave the ceremony, look the Certificate over carefully and advise USCIS of any errors. Once you take the Oath of Allegiance, the Certificate of Naturalization serves as official proof that you are a United States citizen—which is likely the fulfillment of a long-held dream.