You received your naturalization interview date. After years of dealing with U.S. immigration — first to get your green card, then to become a citizen — you are finally near the end of the process. If you feel nervous, you are not alone. With so much at stake, the looming naturalization interview can feel unnerving and intimidating. However, if you know what to expect and take the time to study, you will succeed.
The USCIS Interview
During the USCIS interview, the officer will review your naturalization application and ask you to clarify any issues. You will also take English language and citizenship tests, discussed in more detail below.
Prior to your interview, USCIS will send you a list of documents you need to bring. Make sure you bring everything indicated on the list to avoid delays in processing your application. These documents usually include your passport, your green card, travel documents and proof of marriage. USCIS will typically ask for information pertaining to an arrest or disposition if you had a criminal history, child support due or other pending matters.
English Language Test
The USCIS officer will test your ability to speak, read, write and understand English. The officer will first ask you to read a sentence aloud. Then the officer will ask you to write a different sentence that he or she reads to you. Generally, the officer evaluates your English speaking and listening skills through casual conversation as you discuss your naturalization application.
Be prepared for a simple sentence structure and topics about U.S. citizenship and history. To study for the English language portion of the exam, review these helpful English study materials provided by USCIS. Consider practicing with a friend or relative who speaks English well until you feel comfortable accomplishing each task.
The citizenship test consists of 10 questions. You must answer at least six correctly to pass. Topics include:
- Principles of American democracy
- American system of government
- Rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen
- American history
- U.S. geography
- U.S. holidays and symbols
This may sound like a lot of information. However, if you study the materials provided by USCIS, you will do fine. The 10 questions are drawn directly from USCIS’s list of 100 civic questions. An audio feature allows you to hear the questions being asked in English, which you should practice answering aloud in English as well as writing and reading.
Should Your Attorney Accompany You to the Interview?
By the time you have reached naturalization, you have likely spent thousands of dollars on USCIS fees, expenses and legal counsel. Should you now pay for your attorney to come to your naturalization interview?
If you feel more comfortable with counsel by your side, you might want to spring for the extra costs, knowing that you are in the final stage of the process. Under certain scenarios, you should strongly consider retaining counsel — for example, if you have a criminal record, been deported, remained in the United States without authorization, failed to register for the draft or failed to pay taxes.
*The content and materials available via Ask Ellis are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.
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