Becoming a U.S. citizen may seem like a dream come true. You are among the countless people who make up the true melting pot of America, bringing your rich heritage to a country that promises freedom and opportunity.
No matter your background, you have likely traveled a long road to get here, whether literally or figuratively. If you have applied for citizenship, you may already have an appointment for your interview. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will send you only one notice of this appointment, so preparing now for that event is a wise choice.
First things first
The USCIS has set the date of your appointment, so your best move is to clear your calendar for that day. However, if this isn’t possible, and you need to reschedule, you can expect a delay of several more months to your naturalization process. If you fail to show up for your appointment without notifying USCIS, you risk losing your chances for naturalization.
While you wait for the date of your interview, you can prepare by doing the following:
- Gathering identification papers, passport, permit and any other documents USCIS requests on your appointment letter
- Studying for the civics portion of the test
- Practicing your English (unless you are exempt from the requirement to use English)
- Reviewing the answers you wrote on your application
Having a thorough memory of the responses on your application will be important since the interviewer’s questions will refer to your answers. In addition, you may hear questions about your background, your reasons for being in the country, your personality and your dedication to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.
Taking the test
USCIS agents recommend that those scheduled for testing arrive about 30 minutes early. They do not recommend you bring anyone along unless you need an interpreter or have a disability. Your appearance creates an impression, so dressing nicely will be important. Once you arrive, you will undergo a series of tests, including:
- Reading sentences to show you understand English in written form
- Writing sentences demonstrating your ability to communicate in English
- Answering a set of questions to prove you can converse in English
- Responding correctly to six out of 10 questions about U.S. civics
At the end of your test, a Texas agent will inform you of your results. If you are granted naturalization, you may be sworn in on that day, or you may receive a date for a swearing in ceremony. If your score does not pass, you may receive an appointment for another try.
If USCIS denies your application, you may appeal. At this point, your options are running low, and you will want to make the best of every opportunity to succeed. You may find that the advice and guidance of an attorney at this point will provide you with an advantage as you proceed in your quest for U.S. citizenship.