Oath Ceremonies at US CIS, Chicago Distrit Office
Published August 8, 2008

When I attended a client’s Naturalization Interview earlier this week, I observed a departure from what has typically been Chicago CIS office procedure. Applicants who were being approved for U.S. citizenship at their interview were being asked to stick around an extra half hour to receive printed notices, scheduling them to return to CIS, Chicago in a week for an oath ceremony. This is quite a speedy result. Usually when a Naturalization application is approved, an oath ceremony notice is mailed to the applicant a week or two later, scheduling an oath ceremony at federal court within a month or so.

Before 1990, the Judicial Branch of the U.S. government made final decisions on Naturalization applications and always administered the oath, although INS ( CIS’ predecessor agency) accepted applications and made preliminary recommendations to the Courts. Since 1990, “Administrative Naturalization” has gone into effect, giving the Attorney General and USCIS the authority to grant or deny citizenship applications. It also became possible for oath ceremonies to be held in CIS offices and U.S. Courts. But in Chicago, it has remained common practice for oath ceremonies to be held at the downtown federal courthouse.

What I noticed the other day may be an isolated occurrence or it may continue and become a common practice. Either way, I am curious as to what factors led to the implementation of this practice recently and why such a procedure would not become routine.


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