- Receive an appointment for your interview
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send you a notice in the mail telling you when and where you must appear for your interview. You will not receive a second notice.
What if I cannot go to my interview? It is very important to not miss your interview. If you must reschedule your interview, you should write to the office where your interview is scheduled as soon as possible. You should explain your situation and ask to have your interview rescheduled. Rescheduling an interview may add several months to the naturalization process, so you should strive to attend your original interview date. When a new date has been set, the USCIS will send you a new interview notice. If you miss your scheduled interview without notifying the USCIS, they will “administratively close” your case. If the USCIS closes your case because you missed your interview, the USCIS will notify you at your last address of record. Unless you contact the USCIS to schedule a new interview within 1 year after they close your case, they will deny your application.
To make sure you get your interview notice, you must notify the USCIS every time your address changes.
- Go to your local office at the specified time
You should go to the office where you are to be interviewed at least 30 minutes before the time of your interview. Many USCIS offices are crowded, so unless you need to bring other people with you to your interview, you may not want to . If you do not go to your interview and do not contact the USCIS beforehand, the USCIS will “administratively close” your case. If the USCIS administratively closes your case and you do not contact the USCIS within 1 year to reopen your case, the USCIS will deny your application.
- Bring identification and provide additional documents if the USCIS requests them
You should bring the following identification to your interview: (a) your permanent resident or alien registration card, (b) your passport (even if it has expired), (c) State Identification Card, and (d) any reentry permits you have.
In some cases, the USCIS may ask you to bring additional documents to the interview. These documents will be listed on your appointment letter. If you do not bring the necessary documents, your case may be delayed or denied. The USCIS strongly recommends that you also bring two additional passport-style photographs with you to the interview.
- Answer questions about your application and background
At your interview, a USCIS officer will explain the purpose of the interview, ask to see your identification, and place you under oath. He or she will ask you about:
- your background;
- evidence supporting your case;
- your place and length of residence;
- your character;
- your attachment to the Constitution; and
- your willingness to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
In addition, the USCIS officer may ask you some other questions to make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements. Be prepared to explain any differences between your application and other documents you provided to the USCIS.
Remember that you are under oath. Always tell the truth during your interview. If you lie during your interview, you will be denied citizenship. If you are granted citizenship and the USCIS finds out that you lied on your application or during your interview, your citizenship may be taken away.
If you want a representative to accompany you to your interview, you must first send a “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative” (Form G-28) with your application.
Also, if you are exempt from the English requirements, you may bring an interpreter to the interview or the USCIS may select one for you. If you have any disabilities, you may bring a family member or legal guardian with you at the discretion of the USCIS officer.
- Take the English and civics tests
During your interview, a USCIS officer will also test your ability to read, write, and speak English (unless you are exempt from the English requirements). You will also be given a civics test in English (to test your knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government) unless you are exempt. Even if exempt from the English test, you still need to take the civics test in the language of your choice or qualify for a waiver.
English. Your English skills will be tested in the following ways:
- Reading. To test your ability to read in English, you must read one sentence, out of three sentences, in a manner suggesting to the USCIS officer that you understand the meaning of the sentence.
- Writing. To test your ability to write in English, you must write one sentence, out of three sentences, in a manner that would be understandable as written to the USCIS officer.
- Speaking. Your ability to speak English is determined by your answers to questions normally asked by USCIS officers during the naturalization eligibility interview on a Form N-400.
Civics. During your interview, the USCIS officer will ask you to orally answer a set of civics questions. You must answer six (6) out of 10 civics questions correctly to achieve a passing score. All 100 civics questions have been publicly released by the USCIS and are available here.
- Receive a decision
After your interview, the USCIS will give you a Form N-652 that gives you information about the results of your interview. Based on all the information you have given them, the USCIS will either grant, continue, or deny your naturalization application after your interview.
Granted. Sometimes the USCIS can tell you if you will be granted citizenship at the end of your interview. In some cases, you may be able to attend an oath ceremony the same day as your interview (where available). Otherwise, you will receive a notice telling you when and where your oath ceremony will be.
Continued. The USCIS officer may also “continue” your case. This means your case is put on hold. If your case is continued, it will add time to your naturalization process. The most common reasons for continuation are (a) failing the English and civics tests and (b) failing to give the USCIS the correct documents.
When your case is continued, you will be asked to do one of two things:
- Come back for a second interview. If you fail one or both of the tests, the USCIS will reschedule you to come back for another interview, usually within 60-90 days of the first interview. At that time you will be tested again. If you fail the test(s) a second time, the USCIS will deny your application.
- Provide additional documents. If the USCIS needs more information from you, the USCIS will give you a Form N-14. This form explains what information or documents you must provide, and it tells you when and how you should return the information. If you do not follow the instructions, the USCIS may deny your application.
Denied. The USCIS may also deny your application for naturalization. If the USCIS denies your application for naturalization, you will receive a written notice telling you why.
What can I do if the USCIS denies my application? If you feel that the USCIS was wrong to deny you citizenship, you may request a hearing with a USCIS officer. Your denial letter will explain how to request a hearing and will include the form you need. The form for filing an appeal is the “Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under Section 336 of the INA” (Form N-336). You must file the form with the USCIS, including the correct fee, within 30 days after you receive a denial letter.
If after an appeal hearing with the USCIS you still believe the USCIS was wrong to deny you citizenship, you may file a petition for a new review of your application in a U.S. District Court.
- Do not arrive more than 15 to 30 minutes in advance.
- It would be best if you already know where exactly the local USCIS office is located. If possible, go there in advance of your interview date and make sure you can find it and figure out parking, etc.
- There is no need to wear a suit/tie etc. Wear decent clothing such as going business casual. Do not wear jeans or a t-shirt.
- Memorize everything from the application. Do not keep an open copy of your application in front of you.
- If you have missed anything in the application or realized that something was incorrect in the application, be sure to mention it during the interview.
- An officer will go through all the parts in the application. Even if you have a question or want to change something in a later section, wait until that section comes up in the interview.
- Always tell the truth. They have an entire file of your immigration history in front of them.
- If you received your green card through employment, you will be asked how long you stayed with your green card sponsoring employer after getting the green card. If you left too early, be prepared to answer appropriately and convincingly. Read Sponsoring Employer section for more details.
- If you received your green card through marriage, you may be asked questions about your marriage, your relationship, and details about your spouse. Even though you may not be asked too many questions, this fraud interview questionnaire may be helpful.
- You will be asked to sign the application. Do not sign with your usual day to day signature. You have to write (NOT print) your entire name in cursive letters in the designated area.
- If any question or confusion arises during the interview, keep calm and try to explain it to the officer and try to work it out if possible.
- If you are male and you were already over 26 years old (such as 26 years and 3 months old) when you became permanent resident, you did not have to register with selective service. If the officer asks you why you did not register with selective service, explain that as you were already above 26 years old, you did not have to register. It is only for people between ages of 19 and 26. In other words, males who have not yet celebrated their 26th birthday yet.
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