Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes all naturalization applications and provides the Court with a list of the candidates selected to be naturalized in the Federal Court.
Currently, the selection consists of only those petitioners who have requested to:
- participate in the Naturalization Ceremony and swear the oath of allegiance in a formal court proceeding.
- change their names legally and have their new names appear on the Certificate of Naturalization.
Several times during a week, a hundred or so people gather on the 2nd floor of the Brooklyn Federal Court. They have not been summoned or forced to come in any way; they are there because they want to. They are about to become citizens of the United States.
The faces seen and languages heard before and after the naturalization ceremonies are those of the world: Africans, Asians, Europeans, Latin Americans.
While they come from across the globe, they are gathered in this spot because they yearn to join in the greatest experiment in human history, the continuing creation of the United States of America.
The participants have cleared numerous hurdles to become citizens. While each immigrant is different, all are unified in a goal to start a new life here, partners with those of us fortunate enough to be born in this great country.
The ceremonies are presided over by a United States District Court judge. These are special moments for the judges as well, giving them a chance to salute the efforts of the men and women they are about to naturalize, while encouraging them to fully participate in the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
These ceremonies are open to the public. They serve as a real, and often moving, civics lesson that visitors will not soon forget.
They are always held in the Ceremonial Courtroom. Please come and take part in this uniquely American experience.