My U.S. citizenship interview
I applied for my U.S. citizenship in 2019.
I wanted to travel to see my family, without fear that I might be deported or lose my status. I wanted to be able to petition for my family to come here, so we could all be safe together. I wanted to be able to vote and give voice to my community who is still going through the challenges of status.
After I sent in my application, the next step was my biometrics appointment. At the appointment, I gave my fingerprints and signature and had my photograph taken. Then I waited. It was 7 months before I received a notification letter from USCIS to come for my citizenship interview!
My citizenship interview was on Nov 27, 2019, the day before Thanksgiving.
I did some research about what would happen in the interview. Many people said that the USCIS in some states can make the interview a bit more difficult than it used to be. The interviewers ask applicants about the meaning of each question in the N-400 application.
So, while I waited, I decided to use my time to study. I dedicated:
• Three hours daily to understanding the N-400 application questions. I wanted to be sure I knew the meaning of some of the difficult words, especially in Part 12.
• Two hours every day to study US civics, history, and government. I used USAHello’s free online citizenship class. It is translated into 8 languages.
The day for my citizenship interview arrived.
I was told not to be nervous or afraid of failing. I got some other good tips, too:
• I was advised that the interview really begins the minute I meet and greet the officer. He will already be assessing my English skills.
• People recommended that I bring my husband and children with me to the naturalization interview to support my case because I came to the USA with a marriage visa. The USCIS office would want to make sure we were truly married and living together.
• I was told to arrive early. On November 27, we arrived two hours prior to my interview!
After waiting a while, the officer called my name. We exchanged greetings and shook hands and went into the office.
I sat across the table from the officer. He was very friendly, and he asked me if there were any changes or updates to my N-400 application before starting the interview.
The officer started the interview with my application.
He asked 5 personal questions: my date of birth, where I live, where I work, who came with me, and how many kids I have. I knew that was part of my speaking test.
Then the officer began the civics test. I had to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly. Because I studied, I passed the first 6 questions that he asked.
Next came the reading test. The officer passed me a piece of paper with a sentence written on it and he asked me to read it. The sentence was “Who can vote?”
The last part was the writing test. The officer gave two options for writing. The first one was to write on a piece of paper. The second one was to write on a touch screen. I chose the second one and wrote “Citizens can vote” as I was instructed.