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What to expect when you attend the naturalization ceremony

If you are scheduled to take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony, you are probably very excited, and possibly a bit nervous.

This will be a shining moment in your life. Here is what to expect at the naturalization ceremony:

Receiving the notice

First, you will receive a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony through the mail that confirms the location, date and time of the event. If you are unable to attend, you must return the notice to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. This must be accompanied by a letter explaining why you cannot attend and requesting a new date.

Checking in

There will be a questionnaire to complete prior to the ceremony, and you will give it to a USCIS officer who will review your responses. You must also return your Permanent Resident Card to USCIS at this time; when the ceremony is over, you will no longer need it.

Taking the oath

Once you take the Oath of Allegiance at the naturalization ceremony, you become a citizen of the United States and receive your Certificate of Naturalization. Review the certificate carefully and inform USCIS of any errors, because this document serves as proof that you are now a U.S. citizen.

Steps to take afterward

Once you have completed the naturalization ceremony, the USCIS recommends that you obtain a U.S. passport, which will be additional proof of your citizenship. There will be an application in the welcome packet you receive at the ceremony, or you can apply at a U.S. post office. You should also update your Social Security record at a local SSA office. After the ceremony, wait at least 10 days to do so to make sure there has been sufficient time for your naturalization information to have been updated.

The happy ending

An experienced immigration attorney will tell you that the naturalization process is one that requires patience and determination. It is also a journey that ends in emotional but rewarding fashion when you take the Oath of Allegiance at the naturalization ceremony.

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