What You Need to Know About the Citizenship Interview in USA
Over 7.5 million people have become U.S. citizens over the past decade. However, there are several millions of Green Card holders who choose to forgo becoming naturalized because they are worried about the citizenship interview and test.
The USA citizenship interview serves several purposes and helps the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) review your candidature for citizenship. It gives USCIS a chance to thoroughly examine your application, test your ability to speak, write, and read English, test your knowledge on US history, and finally, make a decision on whether you are eligible for US citizenship. I full understanding of what to expect during your USA citizenship interview will enable you to be better prepared for it, and increase your chances of success. The following points help you go to your interview better prepared.
It is advisable to maintain a folder that you must take to your interview. The folder must contain:
- A copy of your application
- Original supporting documents
- Any communication that you receive from the USCIS
- Interview appointment notice
- Green Card
- Driver’s license or a state-issued ID card
- Current and expired passports and travel documents
Be well prepared before the interview
You can prepare yourself to some extent by reading up on common questions asked during the USA citizenship interview, and preparing how you will answer. Questions are typically drawn directly from your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). So, thoroughly review your N-400 application. Be prepared to answer questions regarding how your life has changed since filling up the N-400 application.
Several online resources provide information on what type of questions to expect. A reliable paid immigration service will be able to help you in this regard. When you know what to expect and do some bit of preparation beforehand, you can quickly become a U.S. citizen. Be prepared to answer questions regarding:
- Your background
- Your place and length of residence
- Your character
- Your willingness to take an Oath of Allegiance
- Your attachment to the Constitution
- Evidence supporting your case
English speaking, reading and writing test
During the interview, the interviewing USCIS officer will test your English speaking, writing, and reading ability (unless you exempt yourself from the English requirements). Bear in mind that your English-speaking ability will be judged from the moment the interviewer meets you. They will observe your ability to follow instructions. If you don’t understand a question, that is okay. Simply ask them to repeat the question. Besides this,
U.S. History/civics tests
You will also be required to take a U.S. civics/history test. This test is compulsory – even if you exempt yourself from the English test. The interview will stop if you cannot answer 6 out of 10 of these questions correctly. So, ensure you know the U.S. history and prepare thoroughly for your citizenship exam.
Always use a paid immigration service or lawyer to assist before the interview to avoid being denied citizenship
In some cases, the USCIS officer is unable to make a decision based on the naturalization interview. When this happens, additional information and/or evidence that you did not provide during the interview might be required. To avoid such situations, consult with a lawyer and get them to assist you before the interview, or take the help of a paid immigration service. You can take the lawyer with you for your interview; however, please bear in mind that a lawyer cannot stop the officer from asking you the required questions. A lawyer is necessary if you have a legal case against you, have had a run-in with the cops, or if you have spent more than a year outside the United States.