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Four tips for your naturalization interview

Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States is within your reach. After completing your application for naturalization through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, you likely did not just sit back and wait. Ideally, if English wasn't your native language, you practiced and studied to improve your skills. You may have read and studied for your citizenship test or taken a class to help you prepare. The last hurdle is for you to nail the interview.

The interview for your citizenship may change your life because citizenship opens more opportunities for careers and other benefits your green card did not provide. You certainly want to do your best on the interview, so you may even want to seek advice from an immigration attorney. Meanwhile, immigration advocates offer these tips to help you prepare.

Be there

After you receive your letter telling you when and where to go for your interview, take some time to locate the building, know how long it takes you to get there and figure out where to park. Clear your schedule, and plan to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your interview time.

If you absolutely cannot make the appointment, request a new date in writing, but understand that this may delay your process for several months. Failing to show up may result in USCIS denying your application for citizenship.

Be ready

USCIS officials will want to see numerous pieces of identification, so locate these items and take them with you:

  • Your passport
  • Your green card
  • Your Texas ID card
  • Your reentry permits, if you have any
  • Any other documents listed on your appointment letter

You will find it useful to read over and memorize the answers you wrote on your application because contradicting what you wrote may raise red flags with your interviewer.

Be truthful

The interview itself will consist of questions based on your application, which is why it is important for you to remember what you wrote. If there are changes or mistakes on your application, be ready with explanations. The interviewer will also ask about the following:

  • Your history
  • Your reason for applying for citizenship
  • Your moral character
  • Your loyalty to the United States

You may also hear questions about your marriage if you arrived in the country through your spouse. Honesty is essential during the interview. You are under oath, and if your testimony is less than honest, the USCIS will deny your citizenship application.

Be yourself

Come alone since the offices may be too crowded for you to bring friends and family for moral support. However, if you have an exemption from the English requirement, you may bring an interpreter. Furthermore, if you have a disability, a USCIS officer may allow you to bring someone along to help you.

Although formal clothes are not necessary, advisors suggest you dress neatly, as if you were going to a job interview. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts and dirty clothing are not appropriate. Above all, relax and remain calm. If your interview and tests are successful, you are on your way to becoming a naturalized citizen.

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Trevino Immigration Law, 206 E. Locust Street, San Antonio, TX 78212