U.S Citizenship Interview Explanation
How to prepare U.S. citizenship interview questions?
Some applicants are very excited when they are scheduled for the U.S. citizenship interview because they are almost towards the end of the process. However, this may not be for others who have concern as to the citizenship interview questions, and in general, fear of taking an interview before a USCIS officer. But don’t be nervous. Here, we will guide you through the citizenship interview process and citizenship interview tips, so that you know what to expect before, during, and after the interview and how to properly prepare for the citizenship interview.
Citizenship Interview Tips before the Interview - how and what to prepare for the citizenship interview
1. When is the citizenship interview?
Once you complete the filing of the application and get biometrics taken, USCIS will send you an appointment notice with the date and time of your interview. Be sure to show up to your interview location at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment so that you have enough time to check-in.
Wonder when you’re going to receive the appointment notice? Check our guide to the naturalization processing time here.
NOTE: In case if you cannot make it to the initially scheduled interview appointment, USCIS may reschedule the interview as long as you provide sufficient written notice to the USCIS beforehand. Please be advised that rescheduling may cause months of delay in your process. On the other hand, if you simply do not appear for your citizenship interview without providing sufficient notice to the USCIS beforehand, the USCIS will terminate your naturalization application process. You will need to contact USCIS within one year to get your application reinstated otherwise it will be automatically denied.
2. Where does the citizenship interview take place?
The appointment notice you receive will indicate which USCIS office the citizenship interview will take place. The address you provided in the Form N-400 will determine the location of which USCIS field office your interview will be held.
NOTE: You must notify the USCIS within 10 days when you move to another address by submitting Form AR-11 (“Aliens’ Change of Address Card”) or completing a change of address form online (https://www.uscis.gov/ar-11). It is important to update your address to avoid any misdelivery of notices, including your citizenship interview appointment notice.
3. How long does the citizenship interview last?
In general, the citizenship interview takes approximately 20 ~ 30 minutes, but it may vary depending on each applicant.
4. What to bring to the citizenship interview?
You must bring your citizenship interview notice, Green Card, driver’s license or other state-issued identification card, all current and expired passports and travel documents, along with all other supporting documents. Please see our Naturalization Documents for more details.
5. What questions are asked in U.S. citizenship interviews?
U.S. citizenship interview begins by asking you to raise your right hand and swear under oath to tell the truth during the interview. Then a USCIS officer will ask you questions about your N-400 application and background.
6. Can someone go with me to the citizenship interview?
You may bring a representative, such as an attorney, an interpreter, and/or a family member or friend with you, depending on the reasons why you need their support during the interview.
There are three types of people who can accompany you to your citizenship interview.
You can be accompanied by an attorney and represent you in your citizenship interview. However, to do so, the attorney must sign Form G-28 (“Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative”) and must be submitted with the form N-400.
During the interview, the attorney may not speak nor answer citizenship interview questions on behalf of you but will be present to make sure that USCIS honors your legal rights.
If you qualify for an exception from the English test, you can bring an interpreter or ask USCIS to choose one for you. If you choose to bring an interpreter, the interpreter must complete an “interpreter’s oath and privacy release statement” and provide a copy of their government issued identification upon arrival at the USCIS field office.
However, the interpreter is limited to interpretation only. They cannot speak, opine, or answer any of your citizenship interview questions for you.
Family or Legal Guardian
If you are physically disabled, you may be accompanied by a family member or a legal guardian. However, the USCIS officer may decide to allow their presence during the citizenship interview.
7. How should I dress?
Although there is no required dress-code, it is always a good idea to dress nicely, meaning “business casual”. The USCIS officer has plenty of discretion to decide on your application and therefore, it is certainly better to dress nice than not.
Citizenship Interview Tips during the Interview - what questions are asked in the U.S. citizenship interview
What questions are asked in the U.S. citizenship interview
When you arrive at the USCIS field office, you will have to go through a security checkpoint. You will have to show your citizenship interview notice and photo identification. Once you pass the checkpoint you will wait with other applicants until your name is called.
Once it is your turn, you will be called upon and will meet a USCIS officer. You will then swear in and begin the interview. As explained above, the USCIS officer will ask citizenship interview questions about the information you provided in your Form N-400 and background. Make sure you review your application prior to your interview so that any answer or response you give during the interview matches all the information stated in the Form N-400.
The moment the interview starts, the first part of the exam, English test is also conducted. During the interview, the USCIS officer will see your ability to comprehend basic English communication skills. If you do not understand the citizenship interview questions, don’t panic. Simply ask the officer to ask you once more or ask to rephrase the question. It is better than to guess the question and respond incorrectly. The officer will further test your English reading and writing ability as well.
Thereafter, the officer will also give you a U.S. history/civics test. Among 100 possible civics questions, the officer will ask you up to 10 citizenship interview questions from the list. You must answer at least 6 of the 10 questions correctly in order to pass the U.S. civics test. If you cannot get at least 6 answers right, then the officer will reschedule your appointment to re-take the test on another day (within the next 90 days).
Citizenship Interview Tips after the Interview
After completion of your citizenship interview, you will receive a notice with results of both your interview and the exam. The officer may give you the approval notice if the USCIS officer believes all documents are in place and satisfied with your citizenship interview on that same day. Unless you are notified on that same day, it will generally take up to 120 days after your citizenship interview for the officer to make the decision.
The decision may be an approval, denial, or continuation based on the following: Whether the officer believes more information or supporting documents are needed or you did not pass the citizenship test.
If your application is continued, then you will be notified at the end of the interview of the next step. In most cases, this means that the USCIS will send you an official Request for Evidence (RFE) for the missing or additional supporting documents, and/or schedule for a second interview in which it will take place between 60 ~ 90 days from the date of your first interview.
During the second interview, the officer will review newly submitted documents or request clarification on the documents you submitted in response to an RFE or simply re-test on any portion of the test you did not pass.
How to prepare for the citizenship interview
As explained above, the officer will generally ask citizenship interview questions to verify the information you provided in the Form N-400. Thus, we recommend that you make a copy of your final Form N-400 before its submission. Then, review it once more prior to the citizenship interview to refresh your memory.
While preparing to answer questions to your application and background, you also will have to prepare for the 2-part exam. Review our guide on the Naturalization Exam for more details.
Other Useful Citizenship Interview Tips
Updates. Make sure to note any changes between the submission of the application and until the citizenship interview.
Honesty. Be honest at all times. It seems very simple and straightforward, but many people tend to hide or lie about small little things that end up having a significant impact in the application. And in the worst case scenario, the officer may deny the naturalization application entirely.
Old files. USCIS officers may ask questions regarding the content of your old records and your background during the citizenship interview. It is always better to have your old files handy than not. Especially, any court files or police records, have a copy and be prepared to explain when asked.
You may request a copy of your old immigration files by submitting a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act: https://www.foia.gov/) request, particularly if you’ve had a long and complicated history with USCIS, for example, if you have ever been placed in removal proceeding or if another government agency has run a background check on you before.
What do you think of the citizenship interview? Do you want more citizenship interview tips? Check out our community for other cases. For more specific details about what questions are asked in the U.S. citizenship interview, check here.