What Happens at USCIS Naturalization Interview
To become U.S citizen, immigrant has to carry off the naturalization process, which took years to navigate and comply with the U.S. immigration system.
The interview is the final step of the naturalization process in which the USCIS officer will conduct one to one interactive session with the applicant to fulfill the following purpose;
- Review N-400 application to ensure the compliance of requirements.
- Review of the immigration file.
- Test your ability to speak, read, and write English.
- Test your knowledge about U.S. government history, rules, and regulations.
- The decision of eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
Documents required to bring to USCIS Naturalization Interview
You are required to appear at the USCIS office at the scheduled date, time along with the following documents;
- Interview appointment notice
- Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card
- A state-issued ID card such as a driver’s license etc.
- Your valid passport(s) and any travel documents issued by the USCIS
- Copies of tax returns of last few years
Depending upon the case, you may be required to bring the following additional documents;
- Proof of spouse’s U.S. citizenship for the past three years
- Marriage certificate
- Proof of termination of all prior marriages of both you and your spouse (if any)
- Evidence of bona fide marriage, such as homeownership documents, joint bank and credit accounts, joint tax returns, etc.
- Birth certificates of children
- Any others (depending upon the nature of your case)
USCIS Naturalization Interview Process:
A naturalization interview is the most important stage of your citizenship journey in which you have to prove you are eligible to become a U.S. Citizen. After completing all the initial requirements and formalities, including biometric, you will be informed of the naturalization interview and test via mail.
Make sure to reach the specified date and time; your absence will prolong the process of naturalization as interview rescheduling might take several months. When you enter the designated venue of the interview, you will be asked to place your mobile phone and other belongings at the specified desk before entering into USCIS officers’ room. After that, you will be called into the interview room. USCIS officer is the designated authority to conduct the test and interview, who will perform the following actions;
1. Reviewing your N-400 Application:
- The first step of the naturalization interview is the review of Form N-400 (naturalization application). USCIS designated officer thoroughly reviews the application to confirm the provided information and make necessary changes in case of any error, e.g., change in employment, residential address, marital status, the birth of a child, etc. It would be best if you immediately approached an immigration attorney in case of any significant change related to your personal, professional, and social life that could impact your eligibility for naturalization.
- After the initial review of Form N-400, the USCIS officer will ask a few questions to determine whether you are eligible to get U.S. citizenship.
- Finally, USCIS officers will inquire about your past applications to USCIS for obtaining a green card to make sure that you were, in fact, eligible for lawful permanent resident status.
2. Naturalization Exam:
This is the second stage of your interview process, in which you have to attempt the English and Civics test. The detail of these tests are as follows;
I. English Test:
In this exam, the USCIS officer will test your ability to read, write, and speak English.
- To test your reading: USCIS will give you a written sentence and ask you to read it aloud. e.g., the U.S. is the land of opportunity where dreams come true.
- To test your writing: The officer will read a sentence aloud and ask you to write it correctly. e.g., Link Abraham is the Vice President of the U.S. Consulate.
- To test your speaking: There will be no separate test of speaking; your speaking abilities will be tested when you answer the USCIS officer’s questions during the application review and background check.
Note: English test is compulsory for every applicant to pass except a few waivers (given as below) that usually create anxiety for non-native English speakers. It requires a lot of preparation and effort to get through it successfully.
II. Civics Test:
A civics test is administered orally to test your knowledge about U.S. history, background, Government functioning, rule, and regulations. You are required 60% scores to pass the exam.
- For applicants who filed after December 1st, 2020: There is a list of 128 possible questions to study. At your interview, the officer will randomly ask any 20 questions from the list, and you must have to answer 12 out of 20 questions correctly to pass.
- For applicants who filed before December 1st, 2020: There is a list of 100 possible questions to study. At your interview, the officer will randomly ask any 10 questions from the list, and you must have to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass.
- For 65 years old and lawful permanent resident of at least 20 years: There is a shortened list of 20 questions. The officer will ask you up to 10 questions, and you must answer 6 correctly to pass.
Exemptions/Accommodations/Waivers for English and Civics Test
There are exemptions from the English exam for certain lawful permanent residents.
- 55/15 Rule: If you are at least 55 years old AND have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 15 years.
- 50/20 Rule: If you are at least 50 years old AND have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years.
- If you have filed a Form N-648 (Disability Waiver) approved by USCIS.
Even if you are qualified for the exemptions (55/15 & 50/20) of the English test, you must have to attempt the civics test with certain accommodations;
- Permitted to take the civics test in your native language.
- Bring an interpreter with you during the civics test who must be fluent in both.
- English and your native language.
Note: If you are 65 years old and a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization. You are permitted to attempt a simplified version of the civics test.
3. The Oath of Allegiance:
This is the final step of the naturalization interview, in which you will be asked to explain the meaning of oath in your own words orally or to write down your answers. This is the essential part of the interview which could become the reason for denial or delay in the naturalization U.S. citizenship process.
(a) Naturalization Interview Result:
After your naturalization interview, you will receive a result which could be any of these – “granted,” “continued,” or “denied.”.
- Continued Citizenship Application: It means your case is put on hold due to weak or poor performance in the test, incomplete documents, or misleading information provided in the application. If you fail the naturalization interview test, your exam will be rescheduled within 90 days.
- Denied Citizenship Application: You will be sent a written letter to inform the denial of the naturalization application. In this case, you have an option to appeal in court or to apply again.
- Granted Citizenship Application: When you have successfully attempted the interview, you will be eligible to take the Oath of Allegiance that could take place immediately or in a naturalization ceremony later on. Now you officially become a citizen of the United States.
Type of Questions
During the interview, you must interact with the USCIS officer formally and professionally to mark the impression. They will initiate the interview with formal greetings such as, “How are you feeling today?“.
The USCIS officer may ask the following questions;
(a) Questions about yourself, physical attributes, background, family, future plan, etc., such as;
- How old are you?
- Where were you born?
- How old are your children?
- What are your family members’ names and birthdates?
- What is your race/ethnicity?
(b) Questions about immigration, travel experience, and residency such as;
- When did you last travel outside the United States, and why?
- Where do you currently live, and how long have you been living there?
- What is your current citizenship?
(c) Questions about your education, employment status, and reason to get a U.S. citizenship such as;
- From where did you get the education, and why?
- Have you ever claimed to be a U.S. citizen?
- Where are you currently working, and how is the workplace environment?
- Are you satisfied with your job? If not, then why?
Following are some sample civics questions that are typically asked (orally) to check your knowledge about U.S. and commitment to comply with the state rules and regulations;
- What are the colors of our flag?
- How many stars are there on our flag?
- What do the stars and the stripes on the flag mean?
- Who is the Vice President of the United States?
- What type of Government Structure is followed in the United States?
- What rights do U.S. citizens have?
Resources to prepare Naturalization Interview
- USCIS N400 Interview Questions
- USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools
- Free US Citizenship Test 2018
- US Citizenship Test 2018 (audio)
- USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools
- US Citizen Test 2018 USCIS
- US Citizenship Test 2018 (audio)
Websites or links
100 Civics Question and Answers with MP3 Audio (English Version)USCIS website:
USA LEARNSFree online class:
Benefits of having a lawyer at Naturalization Interview:
USCIS does not require your immigration and naturalization attorney to be present. Still, the presence of a lawyer at the citizenship interview will prepare for the test and interview and protect you from delay and denial of an application.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if USCIS denies Naturalization Application?
Ans: If USCIS denies your application, you don’t need to worry. You can simply request a hearing with an immigration officer. The denial letter includes the process of hearing and the required Form N-336 for filing an appeal “Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under Section 336 of the Act”.
Can I re-apply for Naturalization?
Ans: Yes, you can definitely re-apply by completing Form N-400 in all aspects and resubmitting it with the specific fee amount. You are also required to resubmit the fingerprints and photographs again.
Will the interview process change?
Ans: No, the interview process didn’t change till now. It might be changed due to any government policy, rule, or requirement in the future.
What is the pilot program?
Ans: Pilot program was used to ensure that agencies had all the required information before the actual new test was fully implemented nationwide in 2008. During this pilot, USCIS carefully analyzed the latest test questions to confirm the accuracy and validity of the test as intended. This process helped the USCIS refine the testing procedures and smooth the transition of the new naturalization exam.