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Distressing Naturalization Interview - What to do next?

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  • Distressing Naturalization Interview - What to do next?

    So, my girlfriend had her naturalization interview today. She is the shy quiet type. Her English is not great. The USCIS officer spoke angrily at her for several minutes and accused her of lying.

    Background - I'll try to make it brief

    Jenna met her Ex-husband in Spain in 2009. They got married and she moved in with him in Texas in 2010. It was an abusive relationship. In 2013 she escaped to a halfway house for domestic violence. After a few days her friend in Oregon sent her a plane ticket to go and stay with her. Her friend's husband is my friend. I met her at this time, but we did not have a relationship. She tried to get a divorce from her husband, but he said no. She did not have the money to pursue legal action and went back to Spain in 2014.

    There she filed for divorce in the Spanish courts. He was sent a notice of the proceedings and told to appear. He did not. Her divorce was granted. In 2017 I visited her in Spain. She was scared to come back to the USA. I helped her file an SB-1 visa which was granted and she returned to the U.S. in 2018. We started our girlfriend/boyfriend relationship at this time.

    Today's Events:

    She was called in for her test. She passed the civics portions. It was after this when the officer started grilling her on several topics:
    • The officer asked about dates she came to the U.S. and dates about her marriage and dates about when she met me. Jenna answered truthfully (there would be no reason to lie), but then the officer started speaking angrily saying, "Ma'am, you lied to the government. You know I can check these things". Jenna became flustered and she said her brain kind of turned off at this point.
    • The officer grilled her aggressively about meeting me while still married in Texas and that she was cheating on her husband. This also was very confusing to Jenna. She thought maybe the officer misunderstood the dates presented.
    • She was also aggressively grilled about not notifying her ex-husband about the Spanish divorce (although he was notified through the court process, but I don't think she brought this up). The officer told Jenna he was, or could be, filing taxes as if he was still married to her and she could be liable.

    The interview concluded with the Officer asking her the yes/no questions from the N400 and then had her check, verify, and sign items on the tablet. The officer stood up and said, "You passed" and led her back out to the lobby.

    She was handed the form with the: "Congratulations; your application is recommended for approval" NOT checked.
    Box B stating "A decision cannot yet be made about your application" was checked.

    Because Jenna was unable to explain to me (due to her not great English) whether there was any action required on her part, we went back to the office and asked to speak to the officer. I spoke to the officer and tried to clarify her divorce situation and ask if they were expecting any additional actions on Jenna's part. The officer said, "Well, this is what she said under oath." I told the officer I appreciated the clarification. I regretted going back because now I'm worried about having come across as the "Let me talk to manager type".

    Of course, we are both distressed about the situation. Should she be concerned?
    Should she take any action at this point (consult attorney?) or just wait for correspondence?
    Should we expect to hear something soon or might we be waiting the whole 120 days to hear something?
    Did I cause more damage by going back to talk to the Officer?

    Any other comments are greatly appreciated.

    If folks are interested, I'll provide updates.
    Last edited by Matt55; 12-05-2023, 10:02 PM.

  • #2
    Much ado about nothing...

    She just checked her USCIS account and she was approved. There was a letter scheduling her oath ceremony. Damn that Officer scared the heck out of us.


    • #3
      congratulations!!! so sorry that your GF had to go through that!! Sounds like the officer was a complete d**k!! Hopefully in a few years this can be a tale to regale rather than be a dark cloud!! All the best!