Do you have a US Citizenship interview coming up? Are you nervous?
That’s understandable! First of all, congratulations – obtaining US Citizenship is a dream for many, and yours could be finally coming true!
This article will discuss the common questions about the US Citizenship interview and, hopefully, help you relax, feel prepared and successfully pass it.
Table of Contents
How you can prepare for the US citizenship interview?
Let’s start with the most common question on how you can prepare for the US citizenship interview.
It is critical to have a good understanding of the U.S. Citizenship interview process in order to have the best chance for success.
To do this, it is recommended to watch some tutorial videos, which you can find here.
You should also practice with someone who is knowledgeable about the topics that will likely come up during the interview.
Being informed on American history, the government system, and essential documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights can also assist in successfully navigating through the US naturalization process.
Research further on various topics beforehand, so that you can have a greater understanding of what these concepts mean and how they are applicable to the modern day life in America.
The interview itself will be conducted by a designated USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) officer and consist of the following:
- Review of your N-400 form that you will need to complete online.
- Inspection of your documents, such as your US Permanent Resident Green Card; driver’s license or ID from your state of residence; and passport of your country of citizenship (if you have one).
- Testing your knowledge of US civics (i.e., basics of American government and history).
- English writing test.
- English reading test.
- You will also be asked personal and background questions.
All of this will be done under oath, which you will need to pledge at the very beginning of your interview.ס
What Do I Need to Bring to My Immigration Interview?
Arriving prepared to the interview is the key to having your application approved by the USCIS officer.
You will need to bring the following documents with you:
- Appointment notice.
- Your Green Card, which is an evidence of your Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status.
- Driver’s license or state ID.
- Passports (current or expired).
- USCIS-issued travel documents (such as Form I-94, officially called the “Arrival/Departure Record”)
- Original copies of the documents that prove your current marital status, and/or termination of your previous marriage: marriage certificate, divorce papers, annulment certificates, death certificates, or single status certificates.
- Two passport type photos.
- Proof of any military service, if applicable.
- Supporting documentation of medical disability, if applicable.
- Official document of request for representation, if applicable.
- Fee waiver document for waiving the governmental fee or its reduction.
What Can I Expect at an Immigration Interview?
The purpose of the interview is to confirm your eligibility for obtaining US citizenship, which includes such steps as:
- your identity verification;
- your marital status;
- adequate documentation support along with your application;
- your ability to speak and write in English;
- your familiarity and knowledge of US history and government;
- proof of good moral character; and
- willingness to understand, respect and abide by the US Constitution.
Your answers must match the answers you have given in the N-400 form, so make sure you review it properly, as it will help you prepare for the interview.
You also should:
- Make sure you don’t miss any of the important documents.
- Study for the civics (US history and government) exam.
- Practice for the English writing and reading exam using online materials that are available in abundance.
- Be respectful and polite to the USCIS officer, stay calm and composed.
What Can Make You Fail a Citizenship Interview?
Ninety percent of people who go to the US citizenship interview pass it successfully, so you should stay positive that you will be among these people.
If you come fully prepared, you will increase your chances of passing the interview.
The following might cause you to fail the interview:
- Not passing the English writing test.
- Not passing the English reading test.
- Not passing the civics exam.
In addition, failure to provide honest answers about yourself and your personal background, or insufficient documentation, might all be reasons to fail the interview.
Moreover, make sure you arrive to your interview at the time and date that it was scheduled for.
Failure to appear to the interview on time, without proper explanation of the reason in writing, might fail your application as well.
At which point, you will need to request another appointment within the period of time of one year.
How Long Is the Wait for a US Citizenship Interview?
In most cases, an individual who is applying for naturalization by traditional methods should be prepared to wait anywhere from 6 to 14 months for their scheduled meeting with US immigration officials.
This estimate is liable to vary, based on several elements such as the number of petitions being processed within a particular jurisdiction, the complexity of each case and any unique requests or circumstances presented in the paperwork submitted.
What are the common questions at the civics test during the US Citizenship interview?
*Note, that these ARE NOT the actual questions that you will be asked during the interview, and are solely given as examples from the governmental website of US Citizenship and Immigration Services – https://www.uscis.gov/
- Who was the first US President? (George Washington)
- Where is the location of the Statue of Liberty? (Liberty Island, New York City)
- When is US Independence Day? (the 4th of July)
- How many Senators are in the US Congress? (100 US Senators – 2 from each state)
Let’s dive into a simulation of your interview for US Citizenship, from your first touch point with a USCIS officer and all the way until you are given a form of a recommendation of your candidacy for the US Citizenship.
Your name will be called by the USCIS officer and you will be invited to follow him/her to the office place dedicated for the interview.
How to greet the USCIS officer?
You might say something like this to show respect and politeness:
- Hello, it is nice to meet you.
- How are you today?
When you’re being placed under oath, you will be asked the following questions:
- Do you promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
- Do you understand the meaning of an “oath”?
The USCIS officer will also ask you these questions about you:
- What is your full legal name?
- Have you ever gone by any different names?
- Do you plan on changing your legal name?
- What is your date of birth?
- Where were you born?
- What is your race or ethnicity?
Few questions about your physical attributes might also be asked:
- What is the color of your eyes?
- What is the color of your hair?
- What is your height?
Questions about your family history:
- What is the full name of your mother?
- What is your mother’s maiden name?
- What is the full name of your mother?
- Are one or both of your parents US citizens? If so, since when?
- Were your parents married before your 18th birthday?
- How many children do you have?
- What are your children’s names?
- When are the birthdays of your children?
- Where do your children currently reside?
- Are your children your biological children, stepchildren, or adopted children?
Your Relationship History:
- Are you single, married, divorced, or widowed?
- What is your current spouse’s name?
- When and where did you get married?
- Is your spouse a citizen of the United States?
- What is your spouse’s nationality?
- Where does your spouse hold citizenship?
- What is your spouse’s date of birth?
- Has your spouse served in the military?
- What is your spouse’s occupation?
- Where is your spouse employed?
- Have you had any previous marriages? If so, when did these end?
- Has your spouse had any previous marriages? If so, when did these end?
Your Travel Abroad:
- Since becoming a Green Card holder, how many times have you departed the United States?
- Were any of your trips abroad six months or longer in duration?
- Why did you need to travel abroad?
- When did you last travel abroad?
- Which countries have you visited during your travels?
- On what day did you return to the United States?
Your Immigration Status:
- Which country or countries are you a citizen of?
- When did USCIS approve your Green Card?
- How long have you been a US permanent resident?
Your Military Background:
- Did you ever serve in the US Armed Forces?
- Did you ever leave the United States to avoid a military draft?
- Did you ever desert from the US military?
- Have you lived in the United States or received your Green Card anytime between the ages of 18 and 26? If so, and you are male, did you register with the Selective Service? If yes, when did you register? If not, why didn’t you register?
Your Residential History:
- Where do you reside? How long have you lived there?
- Have you resided anywhere else in the last five (or three) years? When did you live elsewhere?
Your Education History:
- Where were you most recently enrolled in school?
- What is the name of your school?
- What are the dates of your attendance at that school?
Your Employment History:
- Where are you employed?
- What is your position?
- Where else did you work during the past five (or three) years? When did you work there?
Your Personal Ethics:
- Have you ever falsely claimed to be a citizen of the United States?
- Have you ever registered to vote or voted in a local, state or federal election in the United States?
- Have you ever discriminated against or denied another person’s rights because of their race, nationality, religious beliefs, political opinions, or membership in certain social groups?
- Do you support the American government?
- Do you support the US Constitution and its Amendments?
- Do you promise to obey the laws of the United States?
- Do you understand and are willing to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
- Would you be willing to defend the United States in a war if necessary?
- If required, are you be willing to conduct noncombatant (civilian) services in the US military or work of national importance?
Your Income Tax Obligations:
- Since becoming a Green Card holder, have you filed all necessary income tax returns?
- Since becoming a Green Card holder, have you ever claimed to be a “non-resident” on a federal, state, or local income tax return?
- Do you owe any taxes to the federal government or your state or local government?
- Have you ever been a member of nobility in another country? If you have, are you willing to give up these titles when swearing an oath of allegiance to the United States?
- Have you ever been associated with or a member of any club, association, organization, fund foundation, party, club, or similar group anywhere in the world? If you have been, please state the name of the group, its purpose, and the reason why you ot involved.
- Have you ever been a member or been associated with a terrorist organization, the Nazi Party or the Communist Party?
You might also be asked these questions:
- Do you know why we are interviewing you?
- Why do you wish to become an American citizen?
- Has a legal official ever declared you incompetent or confined you to a mental institution?
In this article, we tried to cover all the possible questions that you might be asked during your US citizenship interview, however, we cannot guarantee that you might be asked exactly these questions, or asked some of these questions at all.
The length and the type of questions that are asked depend on the individual’s case, history, and various additional variables.
To successfully pass the US citizenship interview, you must prepare carefully, arrive to the interview on time, be respectful to the interviewer, provide honest and full answers to the questions you are being asked.
Becoming an American citizen is a big achievement.
With higher levels of freedom of movement both within the country as well as around the world without restrictions placed on paperwork or visas come financial stability and the ability to take advantage of economic opportunities that may have been otherwise unavailable. Along with increased security from political persecution comes access to some of the best health care systems available in the world, quality education for children as well as adults, comprehensive social services for those who need them most – just a few of the many ways citizens can enjoy their lives to the fullest in America.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
It seems that the most difficult questions during the American citizenship test are about US history and government. However, if you study for the test, you might not find these questions difficult at all.
Most common questions asked during the interview are the ones about you, such as your background, your marital status, your residence, your military background, etc.
In some cases, individuals may be denied US citizenship at the interview stage if they have not provided sufficient proof that they meet the United States’ criteria for becoming a citizen. This could include an inability to demonstrate strong ties to the country or good moral character. Reasons for this could involve engaging in criminal activity, providing false or incomplete information on applications and failing to appear at an interview or biometrics appointment without a valid excuse. On severe occasions, if there is evidence of fraud on the application then it may be referred for further investigation prior to being rejected. However, it is possible that if enough time has passed since a certain incident that would have resulted in denial previously, applicants might still be able to obtain naturalization after additional considerations are taken into account.
It is important to look your best for this significant milestone in becoming an American citizen; showing respect for the process will help to reflect positively on you and your application. Consider the formality of the occasion when selecting an outfit; take into account that this will be a memorable moment and you want to present yourself in a way that conveys professionalism and respect – “business casual” can help achieve this goal. Make sure that whatever you choose is comfortable so that you can focus on passing the test, rather than being distracted by feeling uneasy or uncomfortable in what you are wearing.
No, phones are not typically allowed during a US citizenship interview. The main reason is the need to have zero distractions during the interview and to conduct a fair interview process. In addition, a no-phone policy is part of the interview regulations set by the USCIS.
Generally speaking, an individual can re-take the interview as many times as necessary if they don’t pass it the first time. However, those who fail their interview more than three times may be referred to an Immigration Judge for further evaluation. This hearing will determine whether or not they should be granted US citizenship after failing multiple interviews.
You must submit the payment online through the USCIS website prior to your interview when you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
It is strongly recommended that individuals delay their overseas travels until they have obtained their Certificate of Naturalization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS). This is because if a person leaves the country prior to receiving this document, their application for naturalization will be marked as abandoned and deemed ineligible for approval. As such, in order to avoid any delays or complications upon reentry into the United States, people should wait to receive their Certificate of Naturalization before leaving the country.
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