Taking the Oath of Allegiance is the last step in the U.S. citizenship process. Once permanent residents (green card holders) take this oath, they will be issued naturalization certificates that can be used as proof of U.S. citizenship. The newly naturalized citizens will then be entitled to a number of citizenship rights and privileges.
U.S. citizens can get U.S. passports and passport cards. Soon after they swear the oath, they can file applications for U.S. passports with the U.S. Department of State. Once the new citizens receive their passports, they can travel abroad as U.S. citizens. Only the U.S. citizens can get U.S. passports. The U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packets the new citizens receive will include applications for U.S. passports.
The other privilege that is meant only for the U.S. citizens is the right to vote in federal elections. This is not only a privilege but also a responsibility and one of the most important U.S. citizenship rights. During the oath ceremonies, USCIS officials, state or local government election offices or non-governmental organizations will distribute forms and assist the new citizens to register to vote. U.S. citizens can also register to vote at post offices, the office of the Secretary of State or at motor vehicle offices.
The other thing that must be done by the new citizens after they naturalize is to update their social security records. This must be done at local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices. However, they need to wait for at least ten days after receiving their naturalization certificates to update their social security records.
Green card holders who receive notices to take the oath must not miss the ceremony. If they are not able to make it to the ceremony, they will have to return the notices to the local USCIS offices along with letters explaining why they cannot attend the ceremony. They are not naturalized U.S. citizens until they swear the oath to the country and they will become eligible for citizenship rights only after they take the oath.