Understanding the Oath of Allegiance

The US oath of allegiance is a verbal statement by which citizens agree to abide by the laws and constitution of the United States, and agree to give up allegiances to other foreign countries. The US oath of allegiance is spoken out loud at citizenship ceremonies, when citizenship applicants become US citizens. The oath should not be confused with the pledge of allegiance, a shortened form of the oath which is often recited in public office and in public schools. The text of the oath of allegiance is as follows:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Some people cannot agree to bear arms and to fight to defend their country because of their religious beliefs. If this is true for you and you will be attending a citizenship ceremony soon in order to become a US citizen, it is important to submit a special letter as part of your US citizenship naturalization package, explaining the situation to the USCIS. In these cases, the government will allow you to take a modified version of the oath of allegiance, in which you will not have to declare your intention to bear arms in order to defend the country.

Taking the Oath of Allegiance is an important step, one that publicly declares your intention of living life as a citizen and doing your best to be a responsible and law-abiding citizen of the United States. Before you take the US oath of allegiance it is important to read it over carefully and to ensure that you can honestly agree with everything it contains. Taking the oath of allegiance is an important step and is legally binding. You must carefully consider whether you are willing to abide by the statements you are making in the oath.