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U.S. Citizenship Interview Blog
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The Long Road

Since the terrorist attacks of “9/11” the road to the U.S. Citizenship Interview for many immigrants has become an even longer one. In the years following the attacks it was not uncommon to wait 18 months for a citizenship interview appointment from the time of application. Nowadays the process is still taking roughly six to 12 months.

Stringent Standards

Future citizens are held to higher standards than current citizens as they have not yet earned the legal rights of a naturalized U.S. Citizen. Most will get rejected and/or deported for having a criminal felony conviction, and even possibly for a more serious misdemeanor charge (related to drugs, alcohol or violence.)

Rejected Becasue of Traffic Violations

In fact, there has even been a case of a man rejected simply because he commited too many continuous traffic violations! However, most cases are not that extreme.

A Typical Citizenship Interview

A typical citizenship interview would go something like this:

  • You are called in to meet the Immigration Officer
  • You are asked to swear to tell the truth
  • You may be asked very detailed questions about your past, and will most likely be asked anything having to do with previous marriages, criminal violations, travel outside of the country and taxes.
  • You will be asked a series of citizenship question of which you must answer six out of 10 correctly
  • You will be asked to write a short simple sentence in English. (and sometimes to read it out loud)
  • Upon completion you may be told that you passed right on the spot, or you may be told to wait for a “decision” letter in the mail. (this is usually just procedural)

Prior to the steps above, there is still an extensive and quite long checklist of “to-do” items and preparation that come before the citizenship interview. We will list those items in detail in our next post so stay tuned.

If you happen to already be studying for the citizenship test questions I highly recommend this fun, interactive citizenship interview test software. If you enjoyed the article please do comment and share.

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Two excellent US Citizenship Interview experience videos from YouTube by Debbie Alter. A very good reinactment of the us citizenship interview and some excellent interview tips and suggestions.

US Citizenship Interview Experience Video 1

US Citizenship Interview Experience Video 2

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Here are some application for citizenship videos from YouTube by Debbie Alter. They address common questions for when applying for us citizenship and I would highly recommend them to anyone going through the US citizenship process. Highly recommended!

APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP PART 1

APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP PART 2

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Just a quick little post about a Citizenship Interview experience and naturalization, we will post these from time to time to share what others are going through in this important time:

  • Citizenship - Tristan, after four years of work, study, and effort, took the oath of citizenship in the United States of America. The citizenship pledge, the ceremony, and the entire event is one of the great American traditions. …

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If you want to become a United States citizen, the citizenship interview is one of the most important parts of the process. Pass it, and soon you will officially be a US citizen. But the citizenship interview is not easy, and you need to be well prepared. Here is how the test will take place, from scheduling to the final tests.

First of all, you will be fingerprinted. After this simple and fast process, you will be informed about the date, time, and place of your citizenship interview by mail (you will have to provide it). Make sure you check your mail frequently to prevent missing this important information. Also, make sure you do not miss the interview date. If something comes up and you are unable to make it at the given date/time, simply reschedule your citizenship interview. Keep in mind that rescheduling can add several months to your process of getting naturalized. So attending the first citizenship interview is highly recommended.

Here is how the interview itself can be successfully passed. Below are the 4 main things you have to do:

• Make sure you arrive at the specified time for the citizenship interview.
• Bring all the required documents. Double check if you have them all.
• Answer some questions on your application and background. Always be clear and, most of all, honest in your answers
• Pass the English and Civics tests

The citizenship interview can be quite easy if you know what to do and simply prepare yourself. But remember, try not to miss your first citizenship interview in the first place. However, in life there are surprises, and you may miss the interview. You may even find this out just a day before your citizenship interview. If such an emergency arises (and you are sure you cannot make it to your appointment), immediately call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request rescheduling of the citizenship interview. Here is how this works:

• The NCSC will record the information
• They will pass it on to the local office
• The local office will make the final decision whether to reschedule your appointment

What happens if you do not call the National Customer Service Center and reschedule the citizenship interview? Simple: if you miss your scheduled interview without notifying USCIS, your case will be “administratively closed”. If you do not contact USCIS to schedule a new interview within 1 year after your case was closed by the USCIS, your application will be denied.

Beware! You will not be notified in any way if USCIS closes your case! Taking into consideration that you were the one that missed the citizenship interview and did not take the time to reschedule it, this seems fair. So make sure you make it in time for the citizenship interview or, if you cannot, take a few minutes to reschedule it.

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The citizenship interview is your doorway to American citizenship. The interview can be stressful, but always  keep in mind to answer each and every question honestly. Always obey the USCIS officer and make sure you do whatever he asks you to do. You might be nervous - don’t worry about that. The USCIS officer interviews dozens of people like you every day. He has probably seen and heard just about everything. Be respectful, polite and, above all, honest! If you are all these, you will not encounter any problems during your citizenship interview.

Overall, the citizenship interview can be quite easy for a well prepared person. To make sure you are prepared to what is coming, here are a few tips. Follow them if you want to complete a successful citizenship interview.

Be Yourself

You are talking to an experienced USCIS officer. He will not be impressed if you make lots of compliments or pro-U.S. statements. Don’t even think about doing this! You will not raise your chances of getting approved this way. It can even be quite the opposite! An USCIS officer will be more impressed by people who give clear and succinct answers to each question. Remember not to overdo anything. Be yourself during the citizenship interview. Always avoid making sumptuous statements that have nothing to do with the citizenship interview. These statements can make the officer think that you have something to hide. You are talking to a person you cannot fool in any way, so all you can do is be honest.

Inspire Trust

Although looking down at the ground when speaking can be a sign of respect and submission in other countries, this does not apply in the United States. Make sure you look the USCIS officer straight in the eye. If you fail to do this, the officer can see it as a sign of deception. Building trust with the officer is a very important part of your citizenship interview. Always look the officer in the eyes and try to answer each question as confidently as you can. If you have difficulties looking is his eyes, try to focus on the officer’s nose, or even his mouth, instead of the eyes.

Be Honest

This is the most important part – ALWAYS BE HONEST! If you, regardless of the reason, don’t know the answer to one of the officer’s questions during the citizenship interview, simply say so. If you are unsure what the officer is saying, just ask him to clarify. DO NOT LIE! Even if you get away with a lie, your citizenship can be revoked. However, remember that you are not supposed to volunteer information you are not asked about.

Thank the USCIS Officer

This is the last tip. After the citizenship interview, make sure you thank the USCIS officer. Many people forget this due to stress and it can be seen as a sign of rudeness. After all, your citizenship interview results depend on this person.

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I'm in a middle of becomeing an American citizen,and people been told me that there is an exam for it,can someone who did that before tell me what books or lessons I should read or learn before I go for the exam?
And also what subjets should I study if I want to get my GED?
thanks a lot!!

If you go to INS they have sample tests that you can have and study. They can give you all the material you need to study and to answer your questions. What I think you should do is go to your local community college and get information from there since all states have different requirements in order to get your GED. I think that would help you out better. Good Luck!

I recently got a DUI for prescription drugs and I have a citizenship interview in a few weeks. They already took my fingerprints before the DUI so there is a chance they may not find out if I lie. Should I just risk it and lie on the interview?

Don't Lie, be totally honest at your interview, they will find out anyway and then your chances of being granted your gc are nill to none. Only answer the questions they ask you, don't offer any other information that they don't specifically ask you, keep your answers short and sweet. I just had my interview a few weeks ago, they will most likely let you know it there is going to be a problem with your arrest then. Good Luck, Why would you deliberately break the law when you are soooo close??

I'm about to go to my citizenship interview and I'm wondering what to expect and what kind of questions they ask.

I have been to many citizenship interviews, as the legal representative of the applicants. The interview has different components. One is the English proficiency requirement which is fulfilled by speaking enough English to get by the Interview and by writing down 2 or 3 sentences that the officer will dictate to you. They are simple sentences and related to your life circumstances. The other element of the test is the "history" you can check out the 100 sample questions list at the USCIS website. They will only ask you 3 or 4 questions from those.
Then they will review your immigration record to look for the following: have you filed and paid your taxes properly every year since you became a perm res.? Did you become a perm res through a legal basis (and not a sham marriage); Is there anything in your immigration record that would bar you from becoming a citizen (charges of fraud for instance?) did you register for the military if a man under 26 when you came in the USA? and are you a person of good moral character? ( Any arrests, convictions?) Many people don't know that a charge of domestic violence, in most cases, can be a bar to citizenship AND WILL PLACE YOU IN DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS. If any of these points is a concern to you, then contact an immigration attorney. Its easier to tackle the problem now and not try to deal with it after the interview. Good luck.

I have a citizenship interview scheduled for mid February. Is it okay to go out of the country before then?

yes you can, as long as you still have your greencard…. don't go out of the country after the interview, b/c by then they, if you pass, you would return the greencard back to them… good luck!