Citizenship Interview Tips: At your interview, a USCIS officer will ask you questions based on the N-400 Application for Naturalization you submitted. Familiarize yourself with the most commonly asked naturalization/citizenship interview questions, drawn from your responses on Form N-400 and your A-File. This article will guide you on how to pass your U.S. citizenship naturalization interview.
12 Tips to Pass Your U.S. Citizenship Naturalization Interview
Below are the tips to pass your U.S citizenship naturalization interview
- Have the exact copies of your completed citizenship application, the form N-400, including the entire packet that you submitted to the USCIS office.
Make sure that you understand and everything and can answer all the questions on the N-400 form.
You need to review your entire citizenship application. The interviewing officer will go through your whole naturalization application form and document, then verify the answers that you have provided them.
- Study well and master the 100 questions and answers for the U.S history and Civics Test.
You will not know what will be the six questions the USCIS officer will give you out of the 100 civics test questions, so it’s best to master all of the questions and answers for the history and government tests.
You also need to practice both the reading and writing tests where you will write sentences related to the history and civics exams.
- Be prepared for a short talk with the USCIS officer who will conduct your naturalization interview.
The officer may ask you about the day’s traffic, the weather outside, or whether you had difficulty in finding the USCIS building, and among other things.
Through this short talk, the immigration officer will be able to tell how well you understand English. The USCIS officer will start to evaluate your English speaking skills before the start of the interview.
- Collect all your important supporting documents in a file bag or waterproof safe expanding document organizer the night before your naturalization interview, and make sure to put them in a place that you will not forget.
Read all the important documents that you are going to bring for your interview. It’s easy to get any document from your file bag when it’s well organized, in case the USCIS officer will see any documents during your interview.
- You must leave home early for your naturalization interview.
Traffic can make you late, so it’s advisable to be there ahead of time. If you are driving, plan an extra time for rush hour traffic, there might be road construction, and the difficulty finding a parking space that can take time on the scheduled day of your naturalization interview.
Know the exact location in advance to avoid getting lost in finding the right USCIS building.
- Wear the appropriate outfit for your interview.
Remember that your attire can add confidence during the interview. It’s better to wear clothes that are formal or semi-formal. A clean, well pressed, and appropriate clothes for an important event is an ideal outfit.
A formal or semi-formal attire could also show respect for the USCIS officer who will conduct the U.S Citizenship interview.
Men may wear a long-sleeve shirt and pants, while women may wear a long-sleeve blouse, or sweater with a formal skirt or pants. Wear an outfit appropriately for the naturalization interview, like it is an important event.
Your appearance is also important to the success of your interview. Choose an outfit that will reflect the type of person of who you really are.
When you walk into the interview office, it’s highly recommended that you look neat and professional. You may try to avoid too much makeup. If you like using jewelry, it should be kept at a minimum.
- Avoid using too much perfume, the officer that will handle the interview might be sensitive to it. Avoid chewing any gum or having any candy inside your mouth, even if you are nervous.
Avoiding these actions will help you start a positive outcome for your naturalization interview.
- Try to look straight into the eyes of the Immigration Service officer when you speak.
This will show honesty that you are telling the truth with what is being asked of you. Looking away from the officer most of the time during your interview may give a negative impression that you are not confident in your application, or you may be hiding something.
If you keep on looking down or to the side, this could also give a negative impression of too much nervousness or rudeness.
- Try to sit up straight during your N-400 interview to help you feel more self-assured, since this will also add confidence through your body language.
Sitting up straight will also make you look directly into the USCIS officer’s eyes when speaking. Try to continue constant eye contact and express interest in the success of your citizenship application.
Remember to answer only the questions asked of you. Simply offer short answers to questions directly and honestly.
- Talk clearly so that the USCIS officer can understand you well. Do not speak so softly or so loud. You also need to avoid speaking too fast or too slow.
If you do not understand any of the questions given, you could say;
“Officer, can you please repeat what you just said?”
“Can you please repeat that in different sets of words?”
“Officer, can you please speak louder?”
“Can you please speak slowly?”
Don’t expect that immigration officers speak the English language fluently without any accent, because some of them have their native language accent too.
If you have a difficult time understanding the immigration officer who is assigned to interview you that day, try to make him or her repeat the question so that you can answer it correctly.
- Know the Immigration Service officer (ISO) who will conduct your citizenship interview by his or her name and badge number.
Simply ask the officer for his or her name and badge number. For example, sir or Ma’am, may I know your name and badge number?
You can write this down and take it home with you. This will let you follow up with any specific problems or complaints, if there’s any, for your naturalization interview.
- Try to have a genuine and confident smile during the naturalization interview.
This will help you have a positive energy and will help you relax as well. This will also show that you are being friendly and open for communication about your N-400 application case.
At the end of your U.S citizenship Test interview, you will be asked to read on the digital tablet the correct spelling of your name and more before you sign your naturalization application
The Immigration Service Officer shall give you the form N-652. This form is known as the Notice of Examination Results and this will officially inform you if you have passed or failed the tests, or if for some reason you still need to submit additional documents or your case is still pending.
There are times that the USCIS officer will not be able to make any decision right away because an applicant still needs to provide additional documents.
In case this happens, the Immigration Service Officer will give the applicant the form N-14, explaining what documents the applicant needs to submit, plus when and how to submit them.
If the applicant fails to follow the instructions provided, the USCIS could deny the naturalization application.
If you will pass your naturalization test, you may be able to attend your U.S Citizenship Oath ceremony on the same day, depending on location and availability.
On the other hand, you will officially receive a notice in the mail that will inform you of when and where your American Citizenship Naturalization ceremony will take place if you will not be given the same day of ceremony.
Assuming that you failed the English or Civics test, you shall be tested at a later date, but only on the parts of the test that you had failed. You shall be rescheduled for a second opportunity interview within 60 to 90 days from your first naturalization interview.
If ever you fail the U.S citizenship Examination again during your second chance interview, your application will be denied. Granted that your case is denied, you shall receive an official written notice in the mail explaining why it was denied.
In this case, you may have an option to request an appeal hearing with an Immigration Service Officer. If you request an appeal hearing, you have to fill out the form N-336 “Request for hearing on a decision in naturalization proceedings under section 336 of the INA” and send it with the fee included, within 30 days following the receipt of your denial letter.
You can also decide to re-apply if your case is denied when you meet all the citizenship application requirements.
Therefore, it is important to understand why you have been denied in order to have the best decision for your naturalization application.
Most of the time, re-applying could be better and faster than going through the appeal hearing process. In case you are in this type of situation, it’s advisable to seek advice from an immigration lawyer.
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DISCLAIMER: This post and content is designed for general information only and is NOT legal advice. The information presented in this post should not be construed to be formal legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may contact a licensed attorney.