Who Can Come to My U.S. Citizenship Oath Ceremony?
You have finally made it to the last stage of the naturalization process. Your family and friends could not be more excited for you and you are ready to celebrate. You’ve gotten your notice about your upcoming oath ceremony, but you may have one important question that USCIS has failed to answer: Who can come with you to your ceremony?
There is no hard and fast rule or guidance on the issue—likely because it will depend greatly on the location of the ceremony—and who you choose to bring is a personal decision. Consider the points below when making your decision.
How many guests can you bring?
You may be wondering how many people you can bring and it is a hard question to answer. USCIS does not release information dictating how many guest someone may bring, but there will be other factors that may affect whether all of your guests will be allowed to attend.
Ultimately the amount of people allowed in the building will vary by location. For instance, the fire code may limit the number of people allowed in the room. If the number of people taking the oath is close to the maximum number of people allowed in the room, then your guest may not be allowed into the ceremony. They will have to wait outside, or watch the ceremony via a broadcast if one is available.
While you may not be at all limited in the number of people you can bring, you may still want to limit the number of people you invite out of fairness to all others who are attending. Even in venues that can hold more people than attending the ceremony, many guests end up having to stand along the room. The oath ceremony will take a long time and standing is not optimal. If everyone brings between 0-3 people, the number of people required to stand or to not be admitted will be greatly limited.
So, who should you choose to invite to your U.S. citizenship oath ceremony?
Who can come?
Generally speaking, anyone can come to your U.S. citizenship oath ceremony: family, friends, children, and even complete strangers. While I wouldn’t advise inviting strangers off the street, it is your big day; celebrate with whomever you want.
There are, however, some considerations you will want to take into account when choosing who to invite.
Considerations for bringing children
The naturalization oath ceremony is a long process and is probably not the best environment for children. During the ceremony, children may become bored, hungry, or disruptive. If it is at all possible, you should consider leaving the children at home. After all, you wouldn’t want your children to become unsettled and disrupt the entire ceremony for you and the other attendees.
Considerations for bringing elderly or disabled.
Again, not all locations will have ample room for both attendees and their guest to sit. If you are considering inviting an elderly or disabled person, you will want to make sure they understand that they may have to stand for a significant period of time if no one is kind enough to offer them their seat.
Considerations for minors.
If you are a minor, then you will certainly want to bring along at least one parent—especially if you need a ride.
The Best Advice: Call
USCIS will ensure that you will be admitted, but they may not guarantee that your guests will. If you are planning to bring a lot of guests or a guest who needs accommodations, then you may first want to call USCIS and see if they have any guidance on what the venue is like and whether there are any limitations on guests. It is better to be safe than sorry.
What to do for those who can’t or don’t come
If you have guests that want to come but cannot, then see if you can find another way for them to celebrate with you on this special day.
Consider celebrating with them before or after the ceremony.
Also, you could have someone who does attend take pictures or video tape the event then share with those who could not come later. If no one comes with you, consider asking someone else’s guest who is video tapping if they would mind sending you a copy.
You did it! We are happy for you and we are proud to welcome you to our great Country’s citizenry.
Don’t let this final step in the naturalization process stress you out. It is a day dedicated to you; you’ve already been through the hard part.
If you have any more questions about what the U.S. citizenship oath ceremony is like, check out our resources in our knowledge base. Read: What is the U.S. Naturalization Oath Ceremony Like?