Your Naturalization Interview

An application for naturalization (Form N-400), which has been filed with CIS, requires that the individual applicant (and in some instances, the spouse) be interviewed prior to adjudication. For many people, the prospect of being interviewed by an immigration officer can be stressful. However, for those who are prepared, an immigration interview should be straightforward and much like a job interview. You should try to remain calm- there is no reason to be nervous. Most interviews last no longer than 30 minutes and are a formality. However, we recommend that you budget approximately two hours of time for the entire process.

Included in this section is information on:

  • The General Process
  • Tips for the Interview
  • Information for Marriage-Based Applicants

The General Process

CIS will provide a comprehensive list of required documentation with your interview appointment letter.  Prior to your interview, you will be required to provide biometric data based on USCIS’s Customer Identification Verification system.

Generally, your name will be called and you will be brought into a separate office. The officer will place you under oath and ask to see valid, government-issued identification. The bulk of the interview will consist of the officer going over the forms previously submitted to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date.

In most cases, the interviewing officer will administer English and Civics tests which consist of reading and writing one out of three sentences and correctly answering six out of ten randomly chosen questions which are asked orally. In the event that you do not pass the test, you will be rescheduled and given a second opportunity. You can download the contents of the test as well as study guides by clicking here. Find more information on Study Materials here.

Assuming that all of your documentation is in order, the officer will make a recommendation for naturalization to the CIS Director. Upon his/her approval and completion of the required security checks, you will be notified in writing of the naturalization ceremony date. Naturalization Ceremonies are conducted in Federal Court. If further information or documentation is required, or there are criminal or background check issues, a formal request for evidence will be issued and you will be given a time frame in which to comply.

Tips for the Interview

  • Carefully read the entire appointment notice from CIS so that you know what to bring and what not to bring. View a sample Naturalization Interview Appointment Notice by clicking here.
  • Inform a friend or relative of your interview date, time and location and ask them to remind you a day or two prior to the interview to ensure you do not inadvertently miss the appointment.
  • DO NOT attempt to reschedule your appointment except in the most urgent of cases.
  • Wear business attire in order to promote a professional image to the interviewing officer.
  • Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
  • The officer will also want to see originals of all of the supporting documentation previously submitted with the application to ensure their authenticity (examples would include original I-551 card, birth and marriage certificates) so make sure to bring them with you. We recommend that you also bring one set of photocopies.
  • Be yourself but maintain a professional demeanor.
  • Do not be afraid to ask the officer to repeat themselves if you do not understand a question being asked.

Information for Marriage-Based Applicants

In cases where the naturalization application has been filed after three years of holding permanent residency and marriage is involved, the following applies:

  •  Your spouse will be required to accompany you to the interview.
  • Your spouse will be required to present valid, government-issued identification.
  • Be prepared to provide the interviewing officer with evidence that the couple is living together as husband and wife and is not trying to evade immigration laws. In these instances, we recommend you bring as much documentation as possible. Examples would include joint health, life, and car insurance; joint savings, checking, and credit card statements; lease or mortgage agreements; birth certificates of children born of the marriage; and photographs of the couple.

Most importantly, if you have concerns before the interview, we urge you to contact us.

 

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