The U.S. Citizenship oath of allegiance is the most important part of the naturalization oath ceremony. By taking this scared oath, you are swearing your allegiance to the U.S. in return for all the rights that vest with your citizenship.
What is the Oath?
At the oath ceremony, you will be asked to stand, to raise your right hand, and to repeat after the speaker the following:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”[i]
What does the oath mean exactly?
The oath encompasses what Congress has decided an individual must swear to in order to be naturalized.[ii] Essentially, the oath is having you swear that you will:
- Give up your allegiance to your home country;
- Support the U.S. Constitution and the and the laws of the United States and will help bring to justice (i.e. report violators to the proper authorities) those who do not; and
- Serve in the military of the United States when required by the law; or
- Perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; or
- Perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law.
What if you are not comfortable making this oath?
If you are not comfortable making this oath, there are limited circumstances where you may be able to waive making the oath or may modify the oath.[iii]
Follow this link for more information on these circumstances and the oath ceremony in general.
[i] 8 C.F.R. § 337.1(a).
[ii] See I.N.A. § 337(a).
[iii] See 8 U.S.C. § 337.