After filing your application for citizenship, your journey to becoming a United States citizen is not over. As with anything involving USCIS, you will have to wait for an extended period of time before completing your journey to naturalization with a citizenship interview.

It’s natural to feel apprehension leading up to the citizenship interview, especially if USCIS requests additional documentation or corrections to your application. It helps to understand what to expect so you can be fully prepared to pass the final steps in the process.

Following is a brief discussion of commonly asked questions regarding USCIS citizenship interviews. If you have any additional questions or need more clarification, please contact our experienced immigration attorney to discuss your case.

How Long is the Wait for a Citizenship Interview?

After submitting your citizenship application, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. This appointment is to collect your fingerprints, signature, and photograph, and must be completed before scheduling an interview. 

A USCIS agent will run a background check at your biometrics appointment. If you have lied about anything on your application or committed certain crimes, your application can be denied. 

If you are unsure of what may come up during your background check, speak with an immigration lawyer before going to your biometrics appointment. An immigration lawyer can run a precautionary background check for red flags, and answer any questions you may have. 

In most cases, the citizenship interview takes place 6-10 months after submitting your citizenship application.The interview will be conducted by a USCIS officer who will ask you personal, English and civics questions. 

What Do I Need to Bring to My Immigration Interview? 

USCIS recommends bringing the following items to your interview: 

  • Your Green Card (formally known as Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card)
  • A photocopy of the front and back of your Green Card
  • Your driver’s license or state-issued identification card
  • All current and expired passports or travel documents
  • Copies of your tax returns for the past five years (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)

What Can I Expect at an Immigration Interview? 

The first part of the interview will include questions related to your application and personal background. 

Following the personal background and application questions are the English and civics tests. These are used to determine your grasp of the English language and U.S. history. 

The personal background portion of the interview consists of very simple and straightforward questions about your personal life. These questions can be viewed as a way for the USCIS officer to get to know more about you. 

What Background Questions Will be Asked?

The questions are ultimately up to the USCIS field officer, but you’ll find that the questions generally involve the same basic ideas. Following are some examples of questions you may encounter.

Personal history questions

  • What is your name?
  • How old are you?
  • Where were you born? 
  • What is your race? 
  • What color is your hair? 
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What is the highest level of education that you have received? 

Family history questions

  • Where do your parents live?
  • Are your parents United States citizens?
  • Are you married?
  • When did you get married? 
  • Is your spouse a United States citizen?
  • Do you have children?
  • How old are your children?
  • Where were your children born? 
  • Where do your children currently live?

Financial questions

  • What do you do for work?
  • How long have you worked at your current place of employment?
  • Where have you worked in the last 5 years? 
  • How much money do you make each year?
  • Are you the sole provider for your family?
  • If you are married, does your spouse work?
  • Do you intend on applying for financial aid from the U.S. government? 
  • Do you currently owe any federal or state taxes? 

What Kind of Questions are on the Immigration Test? 

The second part of your interview includes the English and civics portions. While the civics test is rather straightforward with its standardized question, the English test will be comprised of three categories: reading, writing and speaking

For the reading test, you will be asked to read aloud sample sentences about civics and U.S. history topics. USCIS recommends that you study this material and practice creating sentences using the given material. 

For the writing test, you will be asked to write a sentence based on the following material. This material is similar to what’s used for the reading test, so it would be best to practice writing and reading sentences using the given material. You will have up to three chances to do this correctly

After completion of the English test you will then be asked to answer 10 civics questions. Luckily, you have access to the question bank that these 10 civic questions will be pulled from. If you study the questions in the question bank you will be prepared to succeed on the test. 

Here are some examples of questions with the correct answers that you may see on the civic’s test portion of your immigration interview:

Question: What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
Answers: ▪ life ▪ liberty ▪ pursuit of happiness

Question: What is freedom of religion?
Answer: ▪ You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

Question: What is the economic system in the United States?
Answers: ▪ capitalist economy▪ market economy

How Do I Pay for My Citizenship Interview? 

The total cost for your citizenship application process is currently $725. This total includes the $640 application fee and the $85 biometric fee. These are to be paid when submitting your application, so will not need to pay for anything at your interview. 

Can I Travel After My Citizenship Interview?

While awaiting a decision after your interview, you are not yet a U.S. citizen and therefore your travel plans can be restricted. You are still subject to the physical presence test, which requires your trips outside of the U.S. last no longer than 6 months. 

If you want to travel after your interview, make sure you do not jeopardize your citizenship application by taking a trip that will last longer than 6 months. 

Also, consider that you may receive your immigration decision soon after your interview and will need to participate in an Oath of Allegiance ceremony. Traveling abroad for an extended period would only delay this final step.

Call our Immigration team at(480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.

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