The Oath of Allegiance has been made famous through American pop culture, but did you know that most nations around the world have their own versions?
An Oath of Allegiance is commonly required of newly naturalised citizens. However, it is also taken by individuals assuming public office and members of the armed forces.
This post will define what an Oath of Allegiance is, show why it is important, and explain when and how individuals take the Oath once they have been naturalised or awarded second citizenship via citizenship by investment.
An Oath of Allegiance is an Oath whereby a citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty towards the new host country or monarch.
In republics, modern Oaths are sworn to the country in general or the country’s constitution. For example, the Oath of Allegiance in the United States, which is a republic, includes swearing allegiance to the United States Constitution. In a constitutional monarchy, like the United Kingdom, the Oath of Allegiance is a promise to be loyal to the British monarch and their heirs and successors.
Most individuals who have successfully applied for second citizenship through a citizenship by investment programme must also swear an Oath of Allegiance. In Dominica, for example, applicants are required to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Oath must be signed before a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, or Commissioner of Oaths.
The Oath is designed to be a statement of loyalty to the new country. This ceremony is important because nations want their citizens to be faithful and to uphold the constitution.
Taking an Oath of Allegiance expresses a specific intention, using words like “I swear” or “I solemnly affirm.” When one takes an Oath of Allegiance to their new country the intention is not limited to that moment, it includes the commitment to be loyal while upholding the laws of the nation in future too.
The Oath is often the final step in acquiring new citizenship. In countries like the United States and Canada, the Oath is administered at an in-person ceremony presided over by an assigned officer.
In other countries, the Oath can also be taken abroad at overseas missions. In Dominica, the Oath of Allegiance is required for each applicant, including children (although for children under the age of 16, both parents must sign the Oath on behalf of the child). The Oath of Allegiance is printed on the paper provided by the Commonwealth of Dominica and must be returned in its original form. The Oath must be signed in front of a Notary Public, Justice of Peace, or Commissioner of Oaths, who must sign and stamp the Oath. It also must be submitted after the applicant has been approved for citizenship and before issuance of the Certificate of Naturalisation.
Interestingly, due to the pandemic, new citizens of Antigua and Barbuda may take their Oath of Allegiance virtually. Until August 31, 2021, virtual administration of the Oath of Allegiance may take place via Zoom, Skype, or another similar audio-visual platform approved by the Unit. A Notary Public or an individual authorised to administer oaths must be present during the broadcast. In standard times, individuals usually take the Oath simultaneously as they fulfil the residence requirement, which is five days within five years of registering as a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda.
While the US requires new citizens to renounce allegiance to any foreign country or sovereign when taking their Oath, according to the US State Department US law does not require a foreign national to choose between citizenship of the US and their home country.
The Caribbean country of Dominica allows dual citizenship, and individuals who take the Oath of Allegiance upon approval of their citizenship by investment application do not need to renounce their foreign nationalities.
As a citizen of two or more countries, individuals enjoy many benefits in those nations. Dual nationals, therefore, owe allegiance to each nation of which they are citizens. They are required to obey the laws of the countries, and in turn, these countries have the right to enforce their laws.
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