How the naturalization interview works: a step-by-step analysis of the whole process
The naturalization interview is the final hurdle for green card holders who plan to become US citizens. Towards the end of your application processing time, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send you an appointment notice. If all goes well, you will likely know if USCIS will grant you US citizenship by the end of the meeting. What awaits you in this interview told the publication Citizen path.
A USCIS officer will conduct your naturalization interview in a special office. The officer begins the interview by asking you to raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth during the interview. If you know what to expect and have prepared properly, the rest of the meeting should go smoothly.
Overview of your application
A significant part of the naturalization interview involves reviewing your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The USCIS officer will ask you a few questions about your application and supporting documentation. In addition to verifying the information on the application, the officer tests your ability to understand and respond in basic English.
Therefore, spend enough time studying the N-400 form and the responses before you go to the interview. It has probably been several months since you applied. It's easy to forget some details. Review your answers so that you can respond comfortably. Also, note any events that may have affected your N-400 responses.
Changes after filing Form N-400
At the beginning of your naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will likely ask if there are any changes to your N-400 application. Be ready to answer.
In most cases, simple changes to your N-400 are not a problem. Ordinary changes in life circumstances - a new job, a child, or a vacation abroad - are typical events that you need to mention. You will need to review the application with a USCIS officer. You will need to provide any relevant supporting documents. For example, if you have traveled outside of the United States, please provide a list of exact dates and other travel information requested by the N-400.
Again, it is important that you understand how these changes may or may not affect citizenship. If you think these changes may affect your eligibility to become a US citizen, contact an immigration attorney before you go to your naturalization interview. For example, make sure that traveling abroad did not violate your requirements for permanent residence or physical presence in the United States.
Circumstances that may affect your eligibility for naturalization include, but are not limited to:
- a recent divorce or separation if you are applying based on three years of marriage to a US citizen;
- an arrest or anything that could cause you to change your answer to any of the “No” answers on Part 12 of Form N-400;
- absence from the United States for six months or more.
If any of the above situations affect you, contact an immigration attorney before going to your naturalization interview.
What to bring to the interview
After filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, keep a folder containing a copy of your application, originals of all supporting documentation, and any communications you receive from USCIS. This early preparation will help you stay organized and ready for your interview day. Take this folder to your interview.
The documents you should bring with you include:
- notification of the appointment of the interview;
- permanent resident card (green card);
- your driver's license or other form of identification;
- all valid and expired passports and travel documents.
Depending on your individual case, you may need to bring other items with you when you show up for your naturalization interview. Take the original documents, unless otherwise indicated.
You may need to bring other documents
Take proof of your current marital status. Examples of acceptable documents include a marriage certificate, divorce decree, annulment decree, or former spouse's death certificate.
Dissolution of previous marriages
If you are currently married, you must be able to prove that all of your previous marriages and your current spouse's previous marriages have been annulled. Examples of acceptable documents include divorce decrees, annulment decrees, or death certificates.
Filing as the spouse of a U.S. citizen
If you filed Form N-400 based on your marriage to a US citizen, you will need to prove that your spouse has been a US citizen for at least three years and that you and your spouse have been in a marriage union for at least three years. In addition to your marriage certificate, bring along documents such as tax returns, leases, bank statements, utility bills, vehicle title deeds, insurance statements, and any other documents from a three-year period that will help establish proof of your marital status. union.
Take evidence that you have met your income tax filing obligation for at least the past five years (three years if you are filing through marriage to a US citizen). Get copies of your full tax returns or IRS tax statement showing tax information for the required years. You can get a free IRS tax statement at IRS website.
Take proof that all the children listed on your naturalization application are your children. Examples of acceptable documents include birth certificates or adoption orders.
Maintenance of dependents
If you have dependent children living apart from you, collect evidence that you support each dependent child and that you have met your child support obligations. Failure to prove this may result in denial of naturalization due to failure to meet the requirements of good moral character. Examples of acceptable documents include checks, money order receipts, a document from a court or agency confirming that child support has been paid, evidence of a wage garnishment, or a letter from a parent or guardian of the child(ren).
If your payment(s) for any federal, state, or local taxes are overdue, take a signed agreement with that taxing authority showing that you have agreed to pay taxes, and documentation from the same agency showing the current status of your payments.
If you are a male who lived in the United States between your 18th and 26th birthdays, please bring proof that you registered for the selection service. Use online verification selective serviceto create a confirmation email.
Travel outside the US
If you were outside the United States for more than six months but less than one year, please bring documents showing that you were a permanent resident of the United States during your absence. Failure to prove that you were a permanent resident may result in your application being rejected. Examples of acceptable documents include documentation showing that you did not quit your job in the US, did not get a job abroad, your immediate family members stayed in the US, or you retained full access to a US residence.
If you have ever been arrested, detained or convicted, you will need to collect evidence of the decision for each incident.
Filing as the Spouse of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
If you are applying as the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is overseas, take evidence that your U.S. citizen spouse has a contract overseas, such as an employment contract or travel order that lists your name as a spouse, to establish if that your spouse's work abroad has lasted at least one year from the date of filing Form N-400. You must also submit a written statement of your intention to reside abroad with your US citizen spouse and to settle in the United States immediately after your spouse's employment abroad.
If you have ever served in the United States military or are applying for military service under INA Sections 328 or 329, please obtain the original and certified Form N-426, Request for Military or Naval Service Certification.
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If you are a veteran and were discharged from the United States Armed Forces at the time you filed Form N-400, you may file an uncertified Form N-426 only if you bring a photocopy of Form DD 214 (or photocopies of multiple DD 214s) for all periods services listed on Form N-426. Members of the National Guard who apply for naturalization after leaving service may file Form NGB 22 in lieu of Form N-426.
You do not need to provide any of the information listed above unless a USCIS officer asks you to complete a naturalization interview. In many cases, the officer will not even ask for some of these documents. But, if you have information ready, you will avoid delays.
During your naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will test your ability to read, write, and speak English. The employee will test your knowledge of English in the following ways:
Your ability to speak English is determined by your answers to questions typically asked by USCIS officials during an interview.
To test your ability to read English, you must read one sentence out of three so that the USCIS officer understands that you understand the meaning of the sentence.
To test your ability to write in English, you will need to write one sentence out of three in a way that the USCIS officer can understand.
Keep in mind that your English language proficiency will be assessed from the moment you meet with the USCIS officer. He will monitor your ability to follow simple instructions and answer questions.
If you don't understand a question, you can ask the officer to rephrase it. Guessing the answer can only complicate the situation. Instead, ask the officer to repeat the question using different words.
The USCIS officer will also dictate a sentence and ask you to write it in English. Prepare for this part of the interview by reviewing the spelling of the words.
US Civics Test
The staff member will also give you a US History/Civil Law test in English (to test your knowledge and understanding of US history and government). Even if you are exempt from the English test, you will need to take a civics test in your chosen language.
There are 100 possible questions. In the interview, the officer will ask up to 10 questions out of 100. You must answer at least six out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics test.
However, if you fail to answer six out of 10 questions correctly, the naturalization interview will be stopped. USCIS will reschedule the retest appointment for another day (within the next 90 days).
If everything goes well at the interview, the USCIS officer will likely tell you that your application is being approved. The officer may also give you a piece of paper with information about your swearing-in ceremony.
In some cases, the USCIS officer cannot make a decision after the naturalization interview. The final decision may require the help of a supervisor, or USCIS may need additional evidence that you did not have at the interview.
In the event that USCIS rejects your application, they will provide reasons for the rejection. You can file an appeal or file a new application. Before submitting a new N-400 application, take the time to understand the reason for the denial so that he does not get it again.
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