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Why Is My Oath Ceremony Taking So Long?

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When will I have my oath ceremony? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, an immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, DC. 

In this post, you’ll learn about:

  • The naturalization process
  • What to expect for your oath-taking ceremony
  • Varied Procedures of oath ceremonies in different jurisdictions


The Naturalization Process

You know, when someone applies for naturalization, they have to submit their N-400, all the supporting documentation. They have to show that they're a person of good moral character. 

They have to answer all the questions on the N-400, and eventually, they get scheduled for an interview. Once they go to their interview, they're going to be given the naturalization tests, the written test, the civics questions, the writing sample, and the other parts of the test. 

They're also going to have to go through the whole N-400 with the officer. And once they prove that they are eligible and worthy of the N-400, they are going to get their N-400 approved.

The Oath-Taking Ceremony

And the question is, when will I then have my ceremony? When does the ceremony occur? Now in most jurisdictions, a naturalization ceremony is still handled by federal judges. 

So in the old days, the federal courts were entirely in charge of the naturalization process, but as we've become more of an administrative society, more and more of that responsibility has been given to USCIS, but the federal courts like to conduct those ceremonies. 

And the last part of that federal court control over naturalization is that they have these ceremonies in most jurisdictions. I would say probably about 70 to 80% of the naturalization applications go through finally with the federal court, with the US attorney sponsoring them for admission, and then them having a ceremony like you might've seen on television, or you may have even attended one of these naturalization ceremonies.

Oath Ceremonies: Varied Procedures in Different Jurisdictions

So, if you get approved, and you're in a jurisdiction where it's done by a federal court, then you're going to have to wait until the next available ceremony. So, for instance, here in St. Louis, they do ceremonies, I think they do three a month. 

They do one on Fridays, three times a month. And then over in Illinois, across the river in Chicago, obviously, they're probably doing them all the time, but in Southern Illinois, you have to wait for enough people to collect their cases, approval notices. 

Once USCIS has enough of them, then they'll schedule a ceremony. Sometimes they get behind, and they'll schedule a bigger naturalization oath ceremony. So it really depends a lot on where you live, if you're in one of the federal court jurisdictions. 

And some other jurisdictions, like San Diego and Atlanta and Minneapolis, other places, when you're done with your interview, they'll tell you to wait a little bit, and then they'll just send you to another room, and you'll have your ceremony right then and there.

So in those cases, background checks are completely finished, and you just have to go from downstairs to upstairs or from one office to another to get sworn in. And those are a little less formal, obviously, if there's not a federal judge, but they still try to make it nice. You'll still have a nice ceremony. 

They'll let you take your picture with the flag and everything. And people really like those ceremonies. So, it's fun when you have a case in one of those jurisdictions because you get to go to your interview, and you get your client sworn in all on the same day. 

So, that's an exciting day, but either way, those are usually very nice ceremonies. Obviously, the highlight of our day and our work as immigration lawyers, we're on a mission to help 10,000 people naturalize by the end of 2030. And right now, we're at 440 people.

Join our Immigration Community

So, we have a lot of growing to do, a lot of expansion, and we're going to need help from a whole lot more people, a much higher number of people, to get their citizenship in order for us to hit that big hairy audacious goal that we have of 10,000 people by the end of 2030.

If you're thinking about filing for naturalization or if you want to start the process, you can give us a call at 314-325-7978. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. We have about 5,000 members right now, and they're all talking about immigration issues every single day.

And then, of course, we have our YouTube channel that we update each morning with a new YouTube video every day. And I want to do a shout-out to everybody who watches every day. 

That has tickled me to find out that there are people who watch our videos together and watch them every day. I think that's sort of fun. So if that's you, shout out to you and leave us a comment down below, we'd really like to hear from you. 

And then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, most Tuesdays and Thursdays, you'll find us live in our Facebook group and on our YouTube channel answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible in just one hour. Thanks a lot, and have a great day.


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