Step 13 -- Take the Oath. If CIS approves your application for naturalization, you must attend a ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. CIS will notify you by mail of the date and time of your ceremony. The notice CIS sends you is called the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, Form N-445. In some cases, CIS may give you the option of taking the Oath on the same day as your interview. If you decide to take a same day oath, CIS 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 CIS. Try to arrive early. Remember, there are many other people being naturalized with you who must also check in. If you cannot attend the ceremony on the day you are scheduled, return the CIS notice (Form N-445) to your local CIS office with a letter explaining why you cannot be at the ceremony and requesting that CIS reschedule you.
You will be required to return your Permanent Resident Card to CIS when you check in for your oath ceremony. You will no longer need your Permanent Resident Card because you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization at the ceremony.
If more than a day has passed between your interview and the ceremony, you will need to answer several questions. These questions are located on the back of your notice from CIS (Form N-445). You should read the questions carefully and mark your answers before you arrive at the ceremony.
You are not a citizen until you have taken the Oath of Allegiance. If you are unable to swear the Oath, you may replace these words with "solemnly affirm." If you are unable to use the words "so help me God" because of religious beliefs, you may omit these words. If you believe you qualify for a modified oath, you should include a letter with your application explaining the situation. CIS 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.
After 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. It is strongly recommended that you obtain a U.S. passport soon after your naturalization ceremony. A passport serves as evidence of citizenship and is easier to carry around or replace if lost than a Certificate of Naturalization. If you lose your Certificate of Naturalization, it can take as long as a year to obtain a new certificate.
The keys to success in achieving your goal of becoming a citizen of the United States are accuracy, completeness, and communication. It is essential that you follow correctly all of the CIS instructions. Completely furnishing all of the requested information and responding to all communications from CIS as quickly as possible will help. If you qualify for naturalization and follow the correct procedures, you will become a citizen of the United States of America.
Above information courtesy of the United States Army, United States Air Force, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
(Compiled from Amy Member's Guide to Citizenship, published by the Army, and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services)