Naturalization Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I expect at the interview?
The interview process can be a bit overwhelming when you don’t know what to expect but it is really just an opportunity for the officer to review your immigration file and confirm your eligibility. Most field offices do their best to keep the appointments on time. You really shouldn’t wait more than an hour in the waiting room, but keep in mind that it’s just like any other office, and people call in sick or files are transferred, so try to be patient.
The interview typically begins with the officer’s review of documents. It’s best to bring originals for all birth, death, marriage, and divorce decrees where applicable. The English and Civics test is normally given next. You will read and write one sentence. Then you will be asked up to 10 of the civics questions. You are permitted to incorrectly answer 4/10.
Following the test, the officer will complete the review of your file and your background. Finally you will be asked to review your name and the information that will be printed on your naturalization certificate. Be sure to closely review your name, marital status, date of birth and alien number. The certificates are very expensive to replace if there are any typographical errors that you did not correct.
2. What is the English and Civics exam like?
The “exam” is not quite as scary as it is titled. There are fantastic study materials on the USCIS website. We always recommend having a family member or friend read the civics and history questions aloud to you so that you are used to answering in the same format as during the actual test. Keep in mind that there is no time limit. Just study hard, listen to the question, take a breath, and answer.
3. What happens if I fail one or both parts of the test?
If for some reason you do not pass part of the test. You will be rescheduled in a few weeks to come back and answer just the part that was missed. If you fail again, the application will be denied, and you will need to file a new application. Best thing to do is just grab a cup of coffee, to set aside each Sunday morning for an hour of English and study time!
4. Can I travel while my application is pending?
Yes, you can travel while your N-400 application is pending. But it is important to remember that physical presence is determined at the time of filing and at the time of the interview. So, you must be inside the US more than you were outside during the preceding three or 5 years that you are applying under.
5. Can I travel immediately after my ceremony?
No, after the ceremony you will surrender your lawful permanent resident card. You will receive your certificate of naturalization and that is what you will use to apply for your US passport. You cannot leave the US until you get your US passport because you will have no proof that you are permitted to return.
6. Will a DUI stop me from becoming a citizen?
No, one driving while under the influence will not stop you from obtaining your citizenship. However, any sort of criminal conviction is very serious and may affect your case. You should immediately call contact our office if you are cited or arrested while your case is pending. In general, any criminal convictions should be outside of the period that you are required to establish good moral character.
7. Can I help other family members come to the US after I have my citizenship?
Absolutely! While voting is one of the most precious rights that are bestowed to US citizens, another benefit is that you will be able to file for family members to come live in the US that you were not eligible to petition for as a green card holder. These extended family members include parents, siblings, and their families. Wait times for other close relationships are also shortened so there are lots of benefits to explore!