The oath ceremony, including check-in time, may last up to 2 hours in total. However, the Oath of Allegiance itself is only 140 words in length.
Candidates for citizenship are invited to attend the oath ceremony by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services, or USCIS. This ceremony is a crucial part of the naturalization process and attendance is mandatory. If the need to cancel arises, the ceremony will be scheduled for another date.
When they get to the courthouse, candidates are usually seen in order of their arrival time. It is generally not permitted to bring any liquids into the building.
The Oath of Allegiance, which can be read in its entirety on the USCIS website, is essentially a declaration of loyalty to the U.S. By reciting it, candidates for citizenship vow to uphold the Constitution, even if this means serving in the military. Candidates also formally renounce prior allegiances to other governments and nations.
The tradition of taking an oath was established in 1790, although a standardized Oath of Allegiance was not created until 1929, and the clause about military service was not added until 1950. Prior to their standardization, oaths varied significantly between courts. Some courts did not even require candidates to speak the oath but simply recorded that they had done so on official documentation.