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schleima

A foreign couple's perspective on our Oath of Citizenship

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My wife and I recently met a couple visiting from Switzerland. (For reference, my wife is from Taiwan and is applying for citizenship). He was Swiss, she was from Harbin in northern China. Both were Swiss citizens, living in Switzerland.

We talked about what her immigration journey was like, and the topic of our Oath of Allegiance came up. I showed them the words of the oath on my smartphone. They almost seemed offended, as if it was unreasonable for any country to require one to promise to give up all allegiance to their homeland. (Perhaps this has to do with the long tradition of Swiss neutrality). I asked whether she had to be sworn in as a citizen in Switzerland, and she said it was very easy. They just presented their marriage certificate to an official and signed a paper and that was it. No ceremonies, no grandiose declarations, no pomp and circumstance, no waving of tiny Swiss flags as soldiers marched up and down the middle of a rented convention hall with someone who may or may not have the singing voice to do our national anthem justice.

Anyway it got me thinking. Do you think that our Oath of Allegiance and the swearing in ceremony is over the top?

And as a follow up, what does the oath ceremony mean to you? I have given this a lot of thought recently.

Certainly in countries where daily life is difficult and impoverished, where thoughts deeds and actions are restricted and monitored, US Citizenship is a beacon of hope, and is a way for people to exponentially improve the lives of their families. But what about people like my wife, who is still very proud of being Taiwanese, and who loves her country and her homeland, and is not impoverished or suppressed in any way? She is becoming a citizen because she married me, not because she is fleeing from a bad situation at home. The part of the oath declaring that she revokes all loyalty to Taiwan just doesn't sit totally well. She'll do it, but we're not anticipating that her oath ceremony will be a great and glorious event as it would be for someone escaping an impoverished situation. For us, it's just the next step required in order for our lives to move forward together in a relatively normal way.

What do you think?

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Edited by schleima

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I wanted to edit the paragraph to clarify my thoughts, but the edit function disappeared... so here it is :)

Anyway it got me thinking. Switzerland is a wealthy, free country. Certainly a life in Switzerland would be a great improvement for someone from a country with an oppressive government like China. And yet immigration is simple, with no drama.

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Although I know the premise of your topic is Citizenship by marriage I looked into the requirements of Swiss Naturalization. From the Wikipedia article on the subject of Swiss naturalization:

  • integration into the Swiss way of life;
  • familiarity with Swiss habits, customs and traditions;
  • compliance with the Swiss rule of law;
  • no danger to Switzerland's internal or external security.

Considering how many cultural enclaves there are in the US, I'd wager that for many, these requirements are more stringent than saying the oath of citizenship.

As to my own personal opinion, I never understood the "very proud of being" X Nationality. I can understand being very proud of ones individualism and/or accomplishments. But very proud of being associated with a Nationality or country, that I can't really grasp.

So to that end, if someone applies for citizenship of a given country, I don't think the following principles are too farfetched:

  • allegiance to the United States Constitution,
  • renunciation of allegiance to any foreign country to which the immigrant has had previous allegiances
  • defense of the Constitution against enemies "foreign and domestic"
  • promise to serve in the United States Armed Forces when required by law (either combat or non-combat)
  • promise to perform civilian duties of "national importance" when required by law

That being said, my wife and I have talked about it and we have agreed that it would be best for her to keep her Japanese citizenship since we plan to stay in Japan in the future for longer than 90 days.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_nationality_law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28United_States%29

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How about a natural born US citizen perspective that was drafted to have to say an oath he would die for this country with a draft dodging president commander in chief or go directly to jail if he doesn't?

Or the perspective of an immigrant person that doesn't want anything to do with her former country and had no personal choice she was born there. But is forced by the Department of State to maintain citizenship in that country because they agreed with that country to do that by putting her place of birth on her US passport. When all she wants to do is to occasionally visit her family that does not have the opportunity to come here. Even with no way to obtain a tourist visa for a short visit. A complete contradiction with the Oath of Allegience written and prepared for by the USCIS. An entirely different governmental agency.

Both claim these laws were made by congress, so why doesn't your congressman have knowledge of these laws when he can't even list out the 1,525 different agencies that were formed in the last 40 years? And more busy trying to get reelected than to do anything about it?

From the huge majority of this country, why are we returning back to the 19th century politics where we had the super rich with the vast majority of Americans more like salves to these capitalists. Why is the vast majority like lambs and not speaking out to the recent injustices this country is going through. Have to say it was nice studying the civics test to refresh my memory of what this country should be and can be if the people speak their voice.

Doesn't help either to have two draft dodging presidents in a roll putting this country through another expensive war. Know for a fact the average American didn't have a damn thing to do with 9/11, kept way too busy trying to put bread on the table and paying huge taxes for services not received. The price of one nuclear submarine could put all kids through college. Then it our constitution, states that only congress can declare a war that hasn't been done since WW II. Why is it this way? Still have plenty of vets locked up from the VN days all banged up, but these were the poor kids, not the kids whose dads could sent them to Harvard.

Doesn't have to be this way, and wouldn't, if Americans would stand up for their God given rights. Yes, there are flaws, major ones, but we only have ourselves to blame for that, we let that happen. And so much for three branches of government when a single party president tells the same party congress what to do that both appoints and approves members of the supreme court. We are no longer a democracy, a dictatorship is more like it.

As far as that oath is concerned, can be modified, just read this.

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Anyway it got me thinking. Switzerland is a wealthy, free country. Certainly a life in Switzerland would be a great improvement for someone from a country with an oppressive government like China. And yet immigration is simple, with no drama.

It is not simple. Much more complicated than here, in the USA.

I happen to have several good friends living in Geneva, I am visiting them at least twice a year, and I know what they needed to do to get their citizenship.

You can do some reading on official Swiss websites.


AOS from B-2

08/05/08 I-485 filed

02/03/09 CGC received

12/09/10 I-751 filed

04/07/11 GC received

11/1/11 N-400 filed

02/24/12 USC

In Polish only. Sytuacja polityczna w Polsce:

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Loyalty runs both ways. If your wife is traveling in another country and gets thrown into jail for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are you going to ask the U.S. Embassy to intervene? Are you going to expect her fellow citizens to expend scarce our hard-earned U.S. taxpayer resources to investigate?


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Given Oath Date at InfoPass Appt. and Touched: 08-28-2012

Rec'd Oath Date Letter in Mail: 09-01-2012

Oath Date: 09-27-2012

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Does Japan not recognize dual citizenship?

In Taiwan (as it is in the US) there is no problem with dual citizenship for Taiwanese citizens. For me, however-- it's quite different. They require foreign nationals to give up their passports in exchange for a Taiwanese one. Considering the shaky political ground Taiwan stands on, I'm not sure why exactly they would enforce this rule when they really need to short up their international support. (I suspect it's meant to curb immigration from poor immigrants from Southeast Asia, not wealthy Americans, but the rule stands for all regardless of citizenship.)

Although I know the premise of your topic is Citizenship by marriage I looked into the requirements of Swiss Naturalization. From the Wikipedia article on the subject of Swiss naturalization:

Considering how many cultural enclaves there are in the US, I'd wager that for many, these requirements are more stringent than saying the oath of citizenship.

As to my own personal opinion, I never understood the "very proud of being" X Nationality. I can understand being very proud of ones individualism and/or accomplishments. But very proud of being associated with a Nationality or country, that I can't really grasp.

So to that end, if someone applies for citizenship of a given country, I don't think the following principles are too farfetched:

That being said, my wife and I have talked about it and we have agreed that it would be best for her to keep her Japanese citizenship since we plan to stay in Japan in the future for longer than 90 days.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_nationality_law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28United_States%29

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I actually find the naturalization process for the U.S. way too lax. Seriously.

First, I would require a much higher standard of English and knowledge of the American history. What they are asking is a joke, a bad one.

Secondly, I would require anybody who is asking to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization, basically be declared "equal to a natural-born" citizen, to renounce their former citizenship, formally. Nobody is required to do so, as naturalization is purely optional and a choice. People who don't want to do that are free to live as permanent resident in the U.S. for as long as they desire.

Finally, becoming a Swiss citizen is far from just getting married. The former Chinese woman was playing a joke on you. It's easier to castrate yourself with a piece of glass off a broken beer bottle without screaming then becoming a Swiss citizen. Yes, marriage is the first step, but then you have to become part of the fabric of the country.

Don't believe everything people tell you. I can tell you that I heard that you become a U.S. citizen automatically when you get married.

All B.S.


There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all . . . . The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic . . . . There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

President Teddy Roosevelt on Columbus Day 1915

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I actually find the naturalization process for the U.S. way too lax. Seriously.

First, I would require a much higher standard of English and knowledge of the American history. What they are asking is a joke, a bad one. I am with you on this one.

Secondly, I would require anybody who is asking to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization, basically be declared "equal to a natural-born" citizen, to renounce their former citizenship, formally. Nobody is required to do so, as naturalization is purely optional and a choice. People who don't want to do that are free to live as permanent resident in the U.S. for as long as they desire. I second you!

Finally, becoming a Swiss citizen is far from just getting married. The former Chinese woman was playing a joke on you. It's easier to castrate yourself with a piece of glass off a broken beer bottle without screaming then becoming a Swiss citizen. Ha-ha!

Don't believe everything people tell you. I can tell you that I heard that you become a U.S. citizen automatically when you get married.

All B.S. Absolutely.

Edited by Jupiter07

2001-2008 F1

08/2008 - AOS VSC

07/2009 - end of 8yrs of grad sch

02/14/09 - ID, GC approved

02/27/09 - CGC rcvd

11/16/2010 - 751 sent - CSC

03/29/2011 - 751 approved

11/15/11 - N400 Sent

11/18/11 - Notice Date

01/27/12 - Interview Date

03/15/12 - Oath Ceremony

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A life in Switzerland would be a great improvement for many from the US, too. In general, immigration and naturalization requirements are stricter in those places where everybody would like to go to. Switzerland is one of those. Plus Switzerland is tiny, and tiny places get overpopulated pretty fast.

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I actually find the naturalization process for the U.S. way too lax. Seriously.

First, I would require a much higher standard of English and knowledge of the American history. What they are asking is a joke, a bad one.

Secondly, I would require anybody who is asking to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization, basically be declared "equal to a natural-born" citizen, to renounce their former citizenship, formally. Nobody is required to do so, as naturalization is purely optional and a choice. People who don't want to do that are free to live as permanent resident in the U.S. for as long as they desire.

Finally, becoming a Swiss citizen is far from just getting married. The former Chinese woman was playing a joke on you. It's easier to castrate yourself with a piece of glass off a broken beer bottle without screaming then becoming a Swiss citizen. Yes, marriage is the first step, but then you have to become part of the fabric of the country.

Don't believe everything people tell you. I can tell you that I heard that you become a U.S. citizen automatically when you get married.

All B.S.

But natural born citizens can also gain other citizenships without losing US citizenship. So it is equal.

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My USC husband lived in Switzerland for several years and went to high school there. From what he tells me, their immigration policy sounds extremely strict and strongly enforced. I like Bob's description: "It's easier to castrate yourself with a piece of glass off a broken beer bottle without screaming then becoming a Swiss citizen."

He is eligible to apply for Swiss citizenship but hasn't made up his mind yet.

As far as I am concerned, taking up US citizenship would mean renouncing and surrendering my Indian passport and I am not sure if I am ready to do that. I am not sure if I can, in good-faith, swear an oath I don't truly believe in, despite my great love and admiration for America and most things American. We'll see how I feel in two years.

Edited by sachinky

03/27/2009: Engaged in Ithaca, New York.
08/17/2009: Wedding in Calcutta, India.
09/29/2009: I-130 NOA1
01/25/2010: I-130 NOA2
03/23/2010: Case completed.
05/12/2010: CR-1 interview at Mumbai, India.
05/20/2010: US Entry, Chicago.
03/01/2012: ROC NOA1.
03/26/2012: Biometrics completed.
12/07/2012: 10 year card production ordered.

09/25/2013: N-400 NOA1

10/16/2013: Biometrics completed

12/03/2013: Interview

12/20/2013: Oath ceremony

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But natural born citizens can also gain other citizenships without losing US citizenship. So it is equal.

Do not believe this is true, but also a question about getting caught, if caught would lose your US citizenship. There is a long list of countries a US citizen can retire in and live the rest of your life in, provided you have a guaranteed income. But don't partake in the politics, don't take any natives job, just bring your money into that country, not a burden to them, but help to boost their economy. And still pay taxes to the USA. Just like this country, we welcome your wealth, its the poor that cannot receive a visa to come here, heck if rich, come and stay as long as you want to, like those terrorists of 9/11 that came here to do damage, filthy rich. They all came here legally.

Its just all about money and how much you have.

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As far as I am concerned, taking up US citizenship would mean renouncing and surrendering my Indian passport and I am not sure if I am ready to do that. I am not sure if I can, in good-faith, swear an oath I don't truly believe in, despite my great love and admiration for America and most things American. We'll see how I feel in two years.

Yep, that's not an easy decision. In my case I was lucky that my "original" country does allow dual citizenship, so I did not have to give up my old passport.

On the other hand, I did not have any problems in taking the oath since it makes perfectly sense that if you become a US citizen, then you have to be loyal to your new country. This is how it is. If you are uncomfortable with this, you have the option to stay as a PR indefinitely.

As many posters pointed out, the immigration laws in many European countries are much stricter. For example, I was born in Germany but I am not a German citizen. Prior to becoming a US citizen, I had to apply for a tourist visa every time I went there to visit my family. I recall getting a 5-day Schengen visa just to attend a wedding of one of my relatives.

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Honestly, when I first read the original post, I thought something was off, since in my recollection, getting citizenship in Switzerland is very difficult. Same with Germany. I have several distant relatives who were born in Germany, and much like nwctzn, are not actually citizens.

The sentance "They just presented their marriage certificate to an official and signed a paper and that was it" may be true but it can also be misleading. It's similar to saying "They just went to their mail box and picked up their green card." While it may be a true statement, it doesn't tell you the whole story.

So I agree that gaining US Citizenship is much easier than many other places. Japan is though too and you don't get Citizenship automatically just for being born there either. At least the father must be Japanese, and I've even read about some scams where the mother tries to falsify records so the father would be Japanese so that the kid would get Japanese citizenship.

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