What Happens at the U.S. Citizenship Interview?

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What Happens at the U.S. Citizenship Interview?

When you apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must appear for a personal citizenship interview with immigration officials as part of the application process. This interview is usually scheduled soon after your biometrics have been taken, and the interview is usually held at a United Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office serving the region where you live. 

At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, we have experienced U.S. citizenship lawyers who help our satisfied clients in the Chicago area obtain citizenship for their foreign-born children. We are based in Chicago but also provide services in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Purposes of the U.S. Citizenship Interview

The citizenship or naturalization interview serves many purposes, including giving USCIS the opportunity to:

  • Examine your N-400 application for citizenship to determine whether you meet the basic requirements for U.S. citizenship.
  • Examining your immigration file to find any issues in your case that can preclude you from being approved for citizenship, such as obtaining permanent residency (green card) through fraud.
  • Test your ability to read, speak, and write English, and
  • Test your civics knowledge of U.S. history and government.

What Exactly Will Happen at the USCIS Interview

When you arrive at the federal building where your interview is scheduled, you will be required to show your appointment notice and then pass through a security check. You must comply with any COVID-related guidelines, such as wearing a mask that complies with government guidelines.

You will then proceed to the waiting room, where you will wait until your name is called. When called, a USCIS officer will take you to his or her office, and once comfortably seated, the officer will likely ask you to stand up and have you swear to truthfully answer questions you will be asked.

The officer will then start asking you questions which are basically going over your N-400 application for citizenship you filed. As you answer the questions, the officer is looking not just to verify that the information is correct, but they also use the opportunity to assess whether you speak and understand English.

You will still be tested on your English speaking, reading, and writing abilities by having to read loudly and write a sentence that the officer dictates to you. The officer will then ask you questions showing your knowledge of basic U.S. history and government.

At the end of the interview, the officer will either tell you that everything has gone well and that you will be approved for your citizenship, or they will simply tell you to go home and await a decision in the mail. 

If your citizenship application is approved during the interview, you will not become a U.S. citizen there and then. Rather, you will be scheduled for an oath ceremony where you formally become a U.S. citizen after taking the oath of allegiance. You will then receive a certificate showing your new status as a U.S. citizen. You can thereafter apply for a U.S. passport.

Discuss Your Options with a Chicago Citizenship Attorney

If you are in the Chicago area and wish to apply for U.S. citizenship, Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC can help. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment to learn more about us and what we can do for you.