Chapter 6 - Judicial and Expedited Oath Ceremonies

A. Judicial Oath Ceremony

An applicant may elect to have his or her Oath of Allegiance administered by the court or the court may have exclusive authority to administer the oath. [1] In these instances, USCIS must notify the clerk of court, in writing, that the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that the applicant is eligible to naturalize. 

After administering the Oath of Allegiance, the clerk of court must issue each person who appeared for the ceremony a document indicating the court administered the oath. In addition, the clerk must issue a document indicating that the court changed the applicant’s name (if applicable). 

B. Expedited Oath Ceremony

An applicant may request, with sufficient cause, that either USCIS or the court grant an expedited oath ceremony. [2] In determining whether to grant an expedited oath ceremony, the court or the USCIS District Director may consider special circumstances of a compelling or humanitarian nature. Special circumstances may include but are not limited to:

  • A serious illness of the applicant or a member of the applicant's family; 

  • A permanent disability of the applicant sufficiently incapacitating as to prevent the applicant's personal appearance at a scheduled ceremony; 

  • The developmental disability or advanced age of the applicant which would make appearance at a scheduled ceremony improper; or 

  • An urgent or compelling circumstances relating to travel or employment determined by the court or USCIS to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant special consideration. [3] 

USCIS may seek verification of the validity of the information provided in the request. If the applicant is waiting for a court ceremony, USCIS must promptly provide the court with a copy of the request without reaching a decision on whether to grant or deny the request. 

Courts exercising exclusive authority may either hold an expedited oath ceremony or, if an expedited judicial oath ceremony is impractical, refer the applicant to USCIS. In addition, the court must inform the District Director, in writing, of the court’s decision to grant the applicant an expedited oath ceremony and that the court has relinquished exclusive jurisdiction as to that applicant.


[^ 1] See INA 310(b).

[^ 2] See INA 337(c). See 8 CFR 337.3(a).

[^ 3] See 8 CFR 337.3(c).

Current as of November 23, 2021