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How to Prepare and Pass the U.S. Citizenship Interview.

Congratulations! You have finally received your naturalization interview notice. Below are answers to some common questions about preparing for it and what to expect after.

What do I need to bring to my naturalization interview?

You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your Interview notice.

  • Your Passport.

  • Your Green Card.

  • Marriage Certificates.

  • Birth Certificates for yourself and any children.

  • Updated tax returns (if not already filed).

What will happen at the interview?

The naturalization interview is composed of three parts:

1. Civics Exam:

The civics (history and government) exam is an oral test. The USCIS Officer will ask you up to ten of the hundred civics questions. You must answer correctly six out of the ten questions to pass this portion of the naturalization test.

2. English Language Exam:

In this part, you will be asked to read and write a sentence in English. There are a few age and residency exemptions to the English test:

  • The applicant is age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and has lived as an LPR in the United States for at least 20 years; or

  • The applicant is age 55 or older when filing for naturalization and has lived as an LPR in the United States for at least 15 years.

Even if you are exempt from the English portion of the naturalization test, remember that you must still take the civics test. However, you can do it in your language of choice with an interpreter.

There is also an exemption to both the English and civics requirements for certain mental and physical disabilities that have lasted or are expected to last 12 months or more.

3. Review of the N-400 Application:

Every interview is slightly different. However, in most cases, the officer will start by putting you under oath, swearing to answer the questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge. The officer will then review your N-400 Application for Naturalization Form and ask you questions about your information and your background. You will have an opportunity to let the officer know about any updates, such as a new job or a new child born after you applied.

When will I get a decision?

Some officers will let you know if you pass at the end of the interview. In some cases, they will even conduct the oath ceremony. In other cases, the officer might tell you that the application needs additional review before a final decision. They might let you know if they intend to recommend that your application be approved.

What can I do if my naturalization application is denied?

If USCIS finds you are ineligible for naturalization, they will issue a denial notice. In case of denial, you should consult with an experienced attorney. This can be time-sensitive as you have 30 days to appeal the decision. In some cases, refiling the application might be a better way to go. An experienced attorney can help you make the right decision.

Please note that even if your naturalization application was denied, it does not necessarily mean that your green card will be taken away from you. However, some of the grounds that make one ineligible for naturalization might also make that person deportable (such as certain criminal convictions or illegal voting). It is essential to consult with an experienced attorney who will guide you through it in such a case.

If my application is approved, when will I become a citizen?

If USCIS approves your application for naturalization, they will schedule you to take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. USCIS will mail you a notification with your scheduled ceremony’s date, time, and location. Remember, You are NOT a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.

What happens at the Oath Ceremony?

At the ceremony you will:

  • Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

  • Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to Form N-445.

  • Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).

  • Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen.

  • Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, review it, and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site.

You will also get an application for a U.S. passport in the U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet. It is also available at most U.S. post offices or online at

We invite you to contact our law firm for more information about naturalization and other immigration matters at

*This article has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current, and is subject to change without notice. Readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular legal matter.

© Copyright 2022 by Revital Shavit Immigration law


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