The Naturalization Interview

When will my Naturalization Interview be? After you file your form N-400, it will usually take about 3 months to receive an interview date. However, it may be faster or slower depending on how much work your local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office has.

What do I need to bring to my Naturalization Interview? You must bring your appointment notice, your Permanent Resident Card, any current and expired passports, and a state identification card (like a driver’s license). There are some other documents you should bring to make the naturalization process faster, including proof of marital status (e.g., marriage certificate or divorce decree(s) ), a copy of your spouse’s previous divorce decree(s), court decree for name change, original or certified copies of court dispositions pertaining to any prior arrests, proof of payment of child support and taxes, and (if you are a man) proof of registration with the Selective Service.

When should I arrive to my Naturalization Interview? It’s a good idea to plan to arrive a half an hour early, just in case something happens to delay you (like traffic or a flat tire). At the very least, try to arrive 15 minutes early. Remember, if you’re very early, you can always take some extra time to study, or go get a coffee to calm your nerves. If you’re late, you could miss your appointment and you may have to file all that paperwork and pay the fees all over again!

How should I dress for my Naturalization Interview? Think of your naturalization interview like a job interview and dress to impress! Men should wear nice slacks and a clean button-down shirt, or even a suit. Women should wear a nice business suit, or nice slacks and a nice button-down shirt, or a modest dress. Absolutely do not wear jeans or a T-shirt with writing on it! You want to dress to impress, which means wearing your very nicest and most respectable outfit.

What happens when I arrive for my Naturalization Interview? You will first go through security. Be sure to leave anything that can be construed as dangerous (including pocketknives, mace, or lighters) behind. If you are bringing a phone, make sure to turn it off! (Some USCIS offices do not like for you to bring a phone at all, so it is often wise to leave it behind also.) After security, you must go to the reception desk, where you must show your interview notice and I.D. to an agent who will electronically notify the officer in charge of your case that you have arrived. Then, you will be directed to a waiting room. Some offices will call you based on a number or letter, while others will simply call your name. You should pay close attention so you do not miss being called when it is your turn! When they call your name, you should follow the officer, take an oath that you will answer all questions honestly, and then be ready to answer all of the officer’s questions. After answering all of his/her questions, you will have to sign some documents. Make sure to review everything to make sure it is all true before you sign.

What kind of questions will they ask at my Naturalization Interview? The majority of the interview is just going through your application and supporting documents. You should make sure you know all of the information on your application well, including things like dates you traveled outside the United States, past marriages, criminal history, and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. This is also a test to make sure you speak English well enough, so if at any point you do not understand the question, ask the officer to repeat the question for you or to repeat it in different words. If something has changed since you applied for citizenship, please make sure to tell the officer. If you have anything unusual on your application, such as divorces, criminal history, or child support, please make sure you have all your documents in order and bring copies of them all with you for the officer.

What happens after my Naturalization Interview? Usually, the naturalization interview is followed by the naturalization test, although sometimes the naturalization test comes first. If the interview came first, you will now have to take the test. If the test came first, you will now be done with your interview and will be free to go home and wait for a letter from USCIS telling you if you passed, and if so, what day to come back to take your oath of citizenship.