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The naturalization ceremony: Your final step to citizenship

The news is full of stories about the immigration issues going on in the country right now. Even immigrants here in Florida may be concerned with whether they will ever reach their goal of becoming citizens. Then there are those who are ready to take the final step of the process by going through the naturalization ceremony. Considering the negativity surrounding the issue of immigration, it might do some good to discuss something positive.

Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves an Application for Naturalization, an individual receives a time and date for taking the Oath of Allegiance, which will either be done in front of USCIS or a judge. If the date and time do not work for the individual, it may be possible to reschedule it, but that is ill-advised since failing to attend could result in a denial of citizenship. He or she will need to bring the completed questionnaire in the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. This will be reviewed before the ceremony.

The nearly new citizen will need to turn in his or her green card, take the oath and receive a Certificate of Naturalization. This document should be thoroughly reviewed for errors. Thereafter, the new citizen may apply for a U.S. passport, register to vote and update his or her Social Security record. These actions "cement" the status as an American citizen.

It would probably be prudent to make sure nothing goes wrong at the naturalization ceremony. The applicant will be giving up his or her green card when walking in and will come out a U.S. citizen -- as long as nothing goes wrong. Even though this should be an exciting time, it could also come with some trepidation. Working with a Florida immigration attorney could help ensure that everything goes according to plan on this special day.

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