November 27, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration: Date, tickets and everything we know so far

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration: Date, tickets and everything we know so far


Biden and Harris

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021.


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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the voting in November and its aftermath.

After a tense wait for election results, former Vice President Joe Biden is set to become the next US president. Biden’s vice presidential pick, Sen. Kamala Harris, made history as the first woman and first woman of color to be elected to the office. 

Multiple news outlets called the election for Biden on Nov. 7, following several days of vote counts amid an influx of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has yet to concede.

Still, Biden has already begun laying out his plans for critical issues like COVID-19 relief and climate change. But before the new administration gets to work in 2021, everything will kick off with an inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Here’s what we know so far.

What day is the inauguration?

The inauguration will take place Wednesday, Jan. 20, on the west front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Each elected US president’s term starts at noon on that day, according to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The president-elect is required to take the oath of office before assuming duties. Following the presidential swearing-in ceremony, Biden will deliver his inaugural address. 

What time will it be and how can I watch?  

No exact air time has been announced just yet. The inauguration is likely to be streamed by every major news station, in addition to being shared on platforms like Facebook Live, Twitter and YouTube. It will be impossible to miss, but we’ll update this information when we know more.

What about getting tickets during the pandemic? 

The inauguration is free to attend, but you’ll need a ticket. You can request these through the office of your US senator or representative by filling out a form on their site. You have until Jan. 1, 2021, to request tickets.

Tickets are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, and you’ll need one for everyone attending, including kids and infants. Each state sets limits on how many tickets a group can request. 

According to the website of Rob Portman, US senator and Republican from Ohio: “At this time, our office is not aware of any restrictions to the inaugural ceremonies that may be caused by COVID-19. We will provide those updates to our website as they become available.”

If you can’t get tickets, you also have the option to watch on the National Mall, where there are typically giant screens showing what’s going on at the Capitol. 

Will President Donald Trump be there? 

Trump hasn’t yet conceded, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be in attendance. Traditionally, though, former presidents do attend the inauguration of the president-elect. This includes the unseated president, as well as presidents from previous terms. 

Have the speakers been announced? 

Not yet. Inaugurations typically include appearances by A-list musicians and performers. Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, for instance, featured Aretha Franklin, while his second had Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson. Trump’s inauguration featured a performance by America’s Got Talent winner Jackie Evancho. Politicians and religious leaders — including archbishops, pastors and rabbis — also usually give speeches.  

What will Biden do first? 

The president-elect’s says one of his biggest priorities is working to tackle COVID-19. Biden and Harris have already announced the formation of a COVID-19 advisory board to help shape the upcoming administration’s response to the pandemic. The board consists of 13 public health experts and will be led by co-chairs Dr. David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner; Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former US surgeon general; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a researcher at Yale university.

Biden has also unveiled a plan that aims to ensure the US achieves a 100% clean-energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. During the presidential debates, Biden promised to get the US back into the Paris climate deal, which the US withdrew from under Trump. He reiterated that promise in his climate plan.



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