What to Expect at the U.S. Citizenship Interview

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What to Expect at the U.S. Citizenship Interview

Several months or weeks after filling out Form N-400, the application for citizenship in the United States, you will have your fingerprints taken. After these biometrics have been gathered, you will then be told that you must attend an interview, and will also be told when that interview will take place. Naturalization interviews are held at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that is located in your region. The interview notice is sent in the mail and you will only receive one, so it is important that the USCIS has your proper address, and that you watch for this notice.

For many people, the naturalization interview is understandably intimidating. A lot rests on what happens at the interview and so, it is easy to become anxious about it. Knowing what to expect at the interview can help ease these concerns and help you better prepare for it. Below are a few of the basic elements of the naturalization interview, and what to do if you are not approved.

What Happens at the Naturalization Interview?

When you arrive at the USCIS office, you must show your appointment notice that you received in the mail. You will also have to pass through security. 

Once those initial procedures are done, you will then wait in a large room that is likely filled with many other people. The USCIS will call people one by one, so you must wait for your turn to be called. When it is your turn, you will be led into a separate office and asked to stand, raise your right hand, and swear to be truthful during the interview.

The interview generally only takes approximately 20 minutes. The officer will review your N-400 and ask you questions about it to determine if your answers match what is said on the form. They ask these questions for two reasons. They want to ensure that there are no discrepancies in your answers, and they also want to make sure that you can speak and understand English. Even though this partially tests your English abilities, you will still have to take an English test. You will also be tested on your knowledge of the U.S. government and the country’s history.

If you are approved for citizenship, you will learn this at the end of the interview. However, you are not yet a United States citizen. You will receive a date for your swearing-in ceremony and a judge will officially declare that you are a citizen. 

What Happens if You are Denied Citizenship at the Interview?

There are a few reasons you may be denied citizenship at the interview. The USCIS officer may require more documents before making a decision on your case. In this instance, they will provide you a list of the documents they need and tell you where to send them.

If you fail either the English test or the civic test, another interview will be scheduled within 60 to 90 days so you can take the test again. If you fail the tests a second time,  your application for citizenship will be denied.

If you are denied citizenship for any other reason, you will receive a notice in the mail. You can appeal the decision if you feel the USCIS made a mistake, but not if you failed either of the tests or did not meet the basic eligibility requirements.

Our Illinois Immigration Attorneys can Help You Prepare for Your Interview

Preparing for a naturalization interview can be overwhelming, but a Chicago immigration attorney can help. At Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC, we can fully prepare you for the naturalization interview, inform you of the questions that will be asked, and give you the confidence you need for the best chance of success with your case. Call us today or contact us online so we can get started on your case.