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Applying for Citizenship:
The Court Hearing

After the examination is complete and the petition is filed, the applicant must appear in court for a final hearing. The examiner tells the judge that the applicant is qualified for naturalization and should be made a citizen. If the examiner believes that the applicant is not qualified for naturalization, the applicant can appear at the final hearing (with a lawyer, if desired). The applicant can ask the judge for citizenship. The judge will listen to the applicant’s reasons and will decide on naturalization.

If an applicant cannot appear to meet the examiner to file the petition or cannot appear in court because of an illness or physical disability, it may be possible for other arrangements to be made.

When it has been decided that an applicant is to become a citizen, the applicant must take an oath of allegiance or loyalty to the US. When he/she takes the oath, the applicant gives up loyalty to another country. Upon taking the oath, the applicant promises to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.

After the oath of citizenship is taken, the judge signs an order granting naturalization. The new citizen is given a certificate or naturalization-the official paper showing the person is a U.S. citizen. (If a large number of people become citizens at a court hearing, the certificates may be mailed to the new citizens later.) If a new citizen changes his/her name or the certificate of naturalization is lost, damaged or destroyed, it is important to apply for a new certificate. The local Bureau of Citizen and Immigration Services office will supply the application form for the new certificate.