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Oath ceremony time, location, and video

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If you're waiting for your citizenship interview or your oath ceremony, you probably already know that some interview locations have same-day oath ceremonies and some do not. I had my oath ceremony today, about 5 weeks after my interview. I'm sharing some things I learned about the scheduling because they may be useful to other people.

First, the time of the ceremony. The letter said that the ceremony was at 12 noon. But what time should I get there? I found a web page that said we should arrive at least half an hour early because we have to go through a line with our paperwork first. That meant that I should be there by 11:30. Then I looked on the website for the community college where the event was being held, and it listed the event at 1pm. Either the website had it wrong or the 12 noon time was to provide time for us to get through that line. Since we didn't know, my husband and I arrived at about 11:30.

It turned out that the college website had the right time. It would've been useful for the USCIS letter to give both an arrival time and a start time so that guests not coming with us didn't have to be there so early.

Second, the ceremony location. My interview was in Detroit, but my ceremony was in Kalamazoo, on the other side of the state, where I live. 92 people were on the list (89 came), so some people came from quite a distance. While we were waiting for the ceremony to start, my husband and I chatted with one of the college staff members working there. He said that they had about one citizenship ceremony a month (or more often? I don't remember), but that because of Michigan weather, the next one wasn't scheduled until March.

He also mentioned that at one ceremony, someone had come from Indiana (a bordering state), presumably because he couldn't make it to the ceremony in his area or wanted to attend an earlier ceremony. That opens up more possibilities. If you've passed your interview and there isn't an oath ceremony in your area that fits with the timing you want, you might be able to attend an oath ceremony further away, even in another state.

Third, the video message from the president. During our ceremony, we were shown this video of President Obama on becoming a US citizen. The college staff member we were talking to commented before the ceremony that this was the last time that this video would be shown there. The next time they had a citizenship ceremony there, the video would be of the next president. That may be good news or bad news to you. Personally, I was glad to become a citizen while Obama is still president. I don't want to get into a political discussion here -- I'm mentioning this so that whatever your views are, you can be aware of this difference in the ceremony before and after Jan. 20.

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Very good info. Thank you for putting all these together. Oath ceremony is little different than the other stages. You cannot access the invitation letter on myuscis, also nobody know where your oath could be. In our case it could be in San Antonio or in Austin. Some districts have announced oath dates on their websites. I wish there was a webpage that we can follow the oath dates for a given region or so. Anyways, thank you for sharing your experience.

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