Chapter 4 - General Considerations for All Oath Ceremonies

A. USCIS Administrative Ceremony

USCIS field offices conduct administrative ceremonies at regular intervals as frequently as is necessary. USCIS must conduct ceremonies in such a manner as to preserve the dignity and significance of the occasion. In some instances, USCIS offices may conduct daily ceremonies where the examination, adjudication, and the oath take place on the same day. District Directors and Field Office Directors must ensure that administrative ceremonies conducted by USCIS in their districts comply with the USCIS “Model Plan for Naturalization Ceremonies.” [1] 

An applicant must appear in person at a public ceremony unless USCIS excuses the appearance. USCIS designates the time and place for the ceremony and conducts the ceremony within the proper jurisdiction. USCIS presumes an applicant to have abandoned his or her naturalization application when the applicant fails to appear for more than one oath ceremony. [2] In such cases, USCIS executes and issues a motion to reopen and may deny the application if the applicant has not responded within 15 days. [3] 

B. Derogatory Information Received before Oath or Failure to Appear

An officer must execute a motion to reopen a previously approved naturalization application if:

  • USCIS receives or identifies disqualifying derogatory information about the applicant after approval of his or her application prior to the administration of the Oath of Allegiance; [4] or

  • An applicant fails to appear for at least two ceremonies to take the Oath of Allegiance without good cause. [5] 

USCIS notifies the applicant in writing about the receipt of derogatory information or multiple failures to appear through the motion to reopen. The applicant has 15 days to respond to the motion to reopen and overcome the derogatory information or provide good cause for failing to appear at the Oath ceremony. [6] 

USCIS must not schedule an applicant for the administration of the Oath of Allegiance if USCIS receives or identifies disqualifying derogatory information. USCIS must not administer the Oath of Allegiance to the applicant until the matter is resolved favorably.

If the applicant overcomes the derogatory information and qualifies for naturalization, the officer approves the application and schedules the applicant for the Oath of Allegiance. If the applicant is unable to overcome the derogatory information, the officer grants the motion to reopen and denies the application on its merits. [7] 

An applicant who fails to appear for at least two ceremonies to administer the Oath of Allegiance, without good cause, abandons his or her intent to be naturalized. USCIS considers multiple failures to appear to be equivalent to receipt of derogatory information after the approval of a naturalization application. [8] 


[^ 1] See Chapter 5, Administrative Naturalization Ceremonies [12 USCIS-PM J.5].

[^ 2] See 8 CFR 337.10.

[^ 3] See Part B, Naturalization Examination, Chapter 5, Motion to Reopen [12 USCIS-PM B.5]. See 8 CFR 335.3(a) and 8 CFR 337.

[^ 4] See 8 CFR 335.5.

[^ 5] See 8 CFR 337.10.

[^ 6] See 8 CFR 335.5.

[^ 7] See 8 CFR 336.1.

[^ 8] See 8 CFR 337.10.

Current as of November 23, 2021