Are you applying for U.S. citizenship and wondering what you need to do to have a successful interview? The interview is one of the most important parts of the citizenship process and is the last step of your citizenship application. The following are five tips for success in your citizenship interview!
Overview of the Citizenship Interview
The citizenship interview is one of the most important steps in the process of applying to become a U.S. citizen. During the interview, the immigration officer will ask for all your documents for verification of your identity, employment, paying taxes, good moral character, and documents to establish a bona fide marriage (if your application is based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen). You will be placed under oath and asked to answer questions about your background, where you reside, your character and criminal record, your marriage (if applicable), how you obtained your Green Card, if you are willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States, and more. Many of these questions will be related to the information you gave USCIS in your N-400 application, and the officer might verify some of what you disclosed while you are under oath. You might also be asked some additional questions to ensure that you are eligible for citizenship, including that you have a basic level of understanding of English and questions related to good moral character. You will also take a civics test, a reading test, and a writing test. The entire interview will be conducted in English unless you meet some exceptions.
Tips to keep in mind to have a successful citizenship interview
Gather and Organize all Required Documents in a Folder
It is very important to have all required documents with you at the interview or you run the risk of delay by having the officer issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to later submit the evidence or of having your citizenship application denied. Required documents include your Green Card, birth certificate, passport, state ID, any reentry permits, marriage and divorce certificates, tax returns, certificates of disposition, and any other documents that the immigration officials ask you to bring in your appointment letter. Make sure you double check the letter to ensure you have all your documents and organize them in a way that you can easily access them when the officer asks. You don’t want to spend time during the interview searching for a document and have difficulty finding it.
Prepare for the Citizenship Test
During the interview, you will be given 10 randomly selected questions about U.S. history and civics. You must answer at least 6 of them correctly to pass. Before you attend your interview, be sure to study for these questions as many of them are a matter of memorizing facts and important dates about the United States government and history, and key historical figures. Learn about the key values and principles of the U.S. Constitution and brush up on your U.S. history as well. While you do not need to have an expert level understanding of the U.S. government, the more preparation you do, the more comfortable you will feel with the questions you are asked. You can use citizenship study apps to help you learn and practice reading and writing in English.
Dress Well and Be on Time
Although it does not directly impact your eligibility for citizenship, the way you dress can show that you take the interview seriously and make a positive impression. While there is no specific dress code, do wear neat and comfortable clothing, and arrive 15 minutes early.
If You do not Understand the Question the Officer Asks, Ask Them to Repeat it
Whether you are being asked a personal question or a question from the citizenship test, it’s important to answer each question correctly. If you can’t hear the officer or can’t understand the question, ask them to repeat it slowly instead of attempting to answer. You are more likely to be successful if you have a handle on every question and can answer it honestly and accurately as a result. Since you are under oath, it is critical that you understand what is being asked of you and answer it honestly.
Demonstrate your Command of Basic English
While you do not have to be as fluent in English as a native speaker, the citizenship interview will still test to see that you can read, write, and speak English well enough to qualify for the naturalization test. When you are answering the questions, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your comfort with English. Be sure to practice your English before attending the interview and having a general conversation