Written by attorney Carl Michael Shusterman

What will happen at the naturalization ceremony?

If USCIS approves your application for naturalization, you must attend a ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. USCIS will notify you by mail of the time and date of your ceremony. The notice USCIS sends you is called the “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony" (Form N-445). In some cases, USCIS may give you the option to take the Oath on the same day as your interview. If this is offered to you and you decide to take a “same-day" oath, USCIS will ask you to come back to the office later that day. At this time, you will take the oath and receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

When you arrive at the ceremony, you will be asked to check in with USCIS. Try to arrive early. Remember that often there are many other people being naturalized with you who must also be checked in. You may bring immediate family with you to the ceremony. Oath ceremony seating should be available for immediate family members.

If you cannot attend the ceremony on the day you are scheduled, you should return the USCIS notice (Form N-445) to your local office. You should include a letter explaining why you cannot be at the ceremony and asking USCIS to reschedule you.

If more than a day has passed between your interview and the ceremony, you will need to answer several questions. These questions will be located on the back of the notice USCIS sends you (Form N-445). Some of the questions on the back of the N-445 include: “Have you traveled outside the United States?" and “Have you claimed exemption from military service?"

You should read the questions carefully and mark your answers before you arrive at the ceremony.

You will take the Oath of Allegiance, which will be led by a USCIS official. The official will read each part of the Oath slowly and ask you to repeat his or her words. If you believe you qualify for a modified Oath, you should include a letter explaining your situation with your application. USCIS may also ask you to provide a document from your religious organization explaining its beliefs and stating that you are a member in good standing.

Once you have taken the Oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization. You may use this document as proof that you are a U.S. citizen.

Please Note: USCIS strongly recommends that you obtain a U.S. passport soon after your naturalization ceremony. A passport serves as evidence of citizenship and is easier to carry than a Certificate of Naturalization. Also, if you lose your certificate of citizenship, it may take many months to replace.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled Naturalization Oath Ceremony, you may send an e-mail to USCIS District 23 at: [email protected] Your e-mail message should include the following:

  1. Your exact name as it appears on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

  2. The date and time you were scheduled to attend the ceremony.

  3. A day-time phone number, mailing address and an e-mail address where you or your duly authorized G-28 representative can be reached.

  4. A short, brief explanation as to why you cannot attend the scheduled ceremony.

If you send an e-mail to USCIS, please do not send a fax or paper letter. After the e-mail has been reviewed, you will be notified of further action.

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