Tips On Preparing For Your Naturalization Interview

CNW Legal Analyst, Attorney Caroly Pedersen

citizenship united states naturalization
FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2019, file photo a citizen candidate holds an American flag and the words to The Star-Spangled Banner before the start of a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Miami field office in Miami. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers can now create fictitious social media accounts to monitor information on foreigners seeking visas, green cards and citizenship. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Most U.S. Residents who apply for naturalization feel excited about the prospect of becoming a U.S. Citizen, but very nervous and apprehensive about taking the required Civics test.  But aside from the testing component of the process, most applicants don’t think much about the other aspects of their Naturalization appointment at USCIS.

That is why it’s important to understand that much more happens at the interview than just taking the test and properly preparing for all the aspects of the appointment will help you to feel more confident and ensure that your interview goes smoothly.

It generally takes about six to eight months (or longer due to covid-19 delays) to be scheduled for your naturalization appointment after the application is filed. So of course, there is plenty of time to study for the Civics test in order to answer up to 10 of the 100 civics questions, of which 6 must be correct and to write a simple sentence in English, as dictated by the officer.

What happens at the interview

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Once you have arrived for your naturalization appointment and gone through security, you will need to check-in at the front desk, give the personnel your interview notice and show your green card as identification.

After checking in, you will be directed to go to the waiting room in order to wait to be called for your interview. Take this time to relax, think calming thoughts and feel empowered, knowing that you will pass the test with flying colors!

Within 15 minutes to an hour or so, the officer will call your name and have you follow them to the office. Once you arrive at the office, they will generally have you remain standing, raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to which you answer, “yes”. After that, the officer will ask you to take a seat and request your green card, driver’s license and passport.

From this point, many officers will immediately begin the civics test questions,  then once complete,  have you write a sentence in English (dictated by the officer) on a USCIS provided iPad. After the test, the officer will usually print out a paper saying you have passed the testing portion of the examination.

The next part involves review of your naturalization application. Most officers will go over every single question from the beginning of your application to the end. So be sure to review your application a few days before your appointment so that it is fresh in your mind and to update the officer on address, employment or other changes to your application. Importantly, be sure to review all the questions beginning on page 12 through 15 so you are familiar with what you will be asked, since some officers will ask you every single one!


Finally, if you are in certain categories, the officer will request more documentation from you. Here is a list of some other documentation that should be provided, depending upon your particular case:

Selective Service: Men who were subject to selective service (18 through 25,) should have a copy of their selective service registration printout.

Early Naturalization: Residents who have applied for early naturalization due to marriage with a U.S. Citizen should bring their original marriage certificate, divorce or death certificates for previous spouses and marital documents to prove that the couple continues to live together in a bona-fide marriage, including: joint taxes, property deed or lease, bank statements, utilities, birth certificates for children, etc..

Travel Abroad While Naturalization case is pending: Those who have travelled abroad after filing for naturalization must provide the officer with an updated list of the dates of such trips and countries visited.

Criminal Background: Residents with criminal charges or convictions must bring certified copies of police reports and court dispositions.

Child Support: Those with child support obligations must bring proof of child support payments. This usually includes, a certified copy of the court ordered child support and printout from registry showing all the payments are up to date. Those without court orders must still provide proof of child support payments, normally a letter from the child’s other parent confirming the payment amount and that child support payments are up to date and bring copies of western union or other money transfer statements or receipts to prove payments.

IRS Debts: Residents who owe IRS taxes should bring a copy of the IRS Installment agreement and a printout of payments made to the IRS to date (request from IRS) or bank statements showing automatic debits, or copies of cancelled checks.


Once the officer has completed your civics and written test, reviewed your naturalization application and reviewed any additional documents necessary for your case, your interview is over. Be sure to ask the officer if you can be sworn in the same day in case they have a slot open. In many cases, they will accommodate you if they have availability. Congratulations!



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