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Understanding the citizenship oath of allegiance

 Posted on October 01, 2022 in naturalization & citizenship

If you are thinking about becoming a citizen of the U.S., you may be a bit nervous about the English-language requirement and civics test. You also may worry about getting through the lengthy application and interview process. Luckily, there are ways to prepare for each of these.

With some effort, you can probably make your citizenship process go smoothly. If it does, you eventually will arrive at the final stage of the process: the oath of allegiance. Because this is a legally binding and solemn oath, you should think carefully before taking it.

The oath of allegiance

Every aspiring citizen must take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. before becoming a citizen. This tradition, which dates back to the 1700s, requires you to make certain affirmations.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you must swear to several tenets, including each of the following:

  • You will support the U.S. Constitution
  • You will bear faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the U.S.
  • You will bear arms to defend the U.S. if the law requires you to do so
  • You renounce your allegiance to your home country

While you do not have to worry about memorizing the oath of allegiance, you certainly should understand what all of its words mean and require of you.


The text of the oath of allegiance requires you to take it “on oath” with the phrase, “so help me God.” If your religious or cultural beliefs prohibit you from doing either, you may be able to request a modified oath. For the provision that requires you to bear arms, the same may be true if you have passivist beliefs.

Ultimately, though, for many, taking the oath of allegiance is a proud moment that represents the first steps as a new citizen of the U.S.

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