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What is an Oath of Allegiance?

The Oath of Allegiance refers to the sworn declaration that all United States citizenship applicants must recite at their naturalization ceremony. Upon raising your right hand and saying the Oath, you will officially become a U.S. citizen. The full text of the Oath can be found on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Key Takeaways

  • The Oath of Allegiance is a sworn declaration that all U.S. citizenship applicants must cite during their naturalization ceremony.
  • Citing the Oath of Allegiance represents the final step in the U.S. naturalization process.
  • By taking this oath, new citizens pledge their loyalty and allegiance solely to the United States, and swear to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the U.S. 
  • The Oath of Allegiance does not need to be memorized, and the applicant will receive its words at the ceremony.

Main Principles of the Oath of Allegiance

The Oath of Allegiance for U.S. naturalization contains several key principles that new citizens swear to uphold:

  1. Renunciation of prior allegiances - The oath requires renouncing completely any previous allegiances or citizenship ties to other nations or sovereignties. This expresses sole loyalty to the United States.
  2. Support and defense of the U.S. Constitution - New citizens pledge to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and laws against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This demonstrates commitment to the founding legal principles of the United States.
  3. Bearing allegiance to the U.S. - The oath demands that new citizens bear true faith and allegiance solely to the United States, forsaking any conflicting loyalties.
  4. Bearing arms/performing service for the U.S. when required - Citizens must swear willingness to bear arms on behalf of the U.S. when required by law, as well as to perform non-combatant duties or work of national importance as mandated.
  5. Free acceptance without evasion - The oath must be accepted freely, without any mental reservation or intention to avoid or evade the sworn responsibilities.
  6. Religious affirmation (optional) - The final "so help me God" allows an optional religious affirmation of the oath.

It is important to note that you do not need to memorize anything in preparation for your naturalization ceremony. You will be given a piece of paper with the words to the Oath or the words will be projected on a screen, so you do not need to remember the exact wording beforehand. However, if you wish to familiarize yourself with the Oath, there are videos available of others reciting it on YouTube.

Bottom Line

If you are feeling nervous about taking the Oath of Allegiance during your naturalization ceremony, that's completely normal. However, don't let nerves overwhelm you. This ceremony marks the end of your naturalization process and the start of your life as a United States citizen.

Looking for legal support during your naturalization process? We understand how daunting the naturalization journey can be after years of living in the United States as a permanent resident. Contact one of our top immigration attorneys today at Attorney At Law.

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