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Naturalization Ceremonies

Naturalization ceremonies are public events that bring communities, schools, and new citizens together in federal courthouses and other community sites throughout the year. Schools often ask to participate in ceremonies.  Interest is especially high on or around Constitution Day and Citizenship Day which is celebrated on September 17.

  • Naturalization can be life changing -- for generations

    Naturalization can be life changing -- for generations

  • Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life become American citizens.

    Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life become American citizens.

  • Naturalization can be:

    Naturalization can be:

  • a triumph,

    a triumph,

  • a triumph,

    a privilege,

  • an honor.

    an honor.

  • Federal judges conduct naturalization ceremonies -- usually in federal courthouses.

    Federal judges conduct naturalization ceremonies -- usually in federal courthouses. 

  • Ceremonies are open to the public, including students. They present the flag, or give a musical performance, or read an essay. Sometimes a naturalized citizen gives a speech.

    Ceremonies are open to the public, including students. They present the flag, or give a musical performance, or read an essay. Sometimes a naturalized citizen gives a speech.  

  • Some ceremonies are at museums and other public spaces such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Some ceremonies are at museums and other public spaces such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Some ceremonies have a theme, such as the one at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Conn., during Military Appreciation Month.

    Some ceremonies have a theme, such as the one at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Conn., during Military Appreciation Month.

  • Sometimes, federal judges go to the new citizens -- in hospital rooms or homes -- to administer the oath.

    Sometimes, federal judges go to the new citizens -- in hospital rooms or homes -- to administer the oath.

  • Ceremonies can be at community sites such as a farm league baseball field.

    Ceremonies can be at community sites such as a farm league baseball field.

  • Where the National Anthem has renewed meaning that brings everyone together under the flag.

    Where the National Anthem has renewed meaning that brings everyone together under the flag.

  • At these ceremonies, Judges ask new citizens to participate in democracy.

    At these ceremonies, Judges ask new citizens to participate in democracy. 

  • They are asked to raise good citizens.

    They are asked to raise good citizens.

  • They are encouraged to exercise their right to vote.

    They are encouraged to exercise their right to vote.

  • They are reminded of their duty to serve on juries, when called.

    They are reminded of their duty to serve on juries, when called.

  • They are invited to volunteer for the military and do public service in their communities.

    They are invited to volunteer for the military and do public service in their communities.

  • They know their oath is a commitment to play by the rules, support and defend the Constitution, and obey the laws.

    They know their oath is a commitment to play by the rules, support and defend the Constitution, and obey the laws.

  • Taking the Oath of Citizenship is a heartfelt pledge...

    Taking the Oath of Citizenship is a heartfelt pledge...

  • a new sense of belonging...

    a new sense of belonging...

  • a long time coming...

    a long time coming...

  • the culmination of hard work...

    the culmination of hard work...

  • the chance to shape the future...

    a celebration...

  • a turning point in the history of a family, a community, and a country.

    a turning point in the history of a family, a community, and a country.

Students Welcome New Citizens to Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities

Are You Qualified to Be a Citizen?

Take this practice test and find out if you would pass the test to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Federal courts conduct citizenship ceremonies, which are open to the public and may be attended by hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. These important civic events, conducted in courtrooms and at sites in the community, present an educational opportunity for promoting public understanding of the federal courts.

Schools may want to approach their local federal court to ask if they can volunteer as part of a service-learning project. The following are activities that some courts bring into their ceremonies.

School Participation: Options for students range from simply observing to taking an active part in the event. Examples include students:

  1. Serving as the color guard.
  2. Leading the Pledge of Allegiance and/or a patriotic song.
  3. Writing and delivering welcome letters to the new citizens at an appropriate time before, during, or after the event.
  4. Reading a personal essay related to the occasion.
  5. Greeting participants in a receiving line.
  6. Presenting the new citizens with flags.
  7. Staffing tables with information about jury service, voter registration, and community volunteerism.
  8. Conducting podcast interviews with new citizens.
  9. Interacting with people from countries whose language they are learning.

Community Involvement: Civic organizations also may want to participate in citizenship ceremonies in some of the ways described here. Sometimes local members of Congress participate in naturalization ceremonies. On occasion, the media covers the events.