My Wife Just Passed the US Citizenship Interview and 6 Tips You Can Use Before and During the Interview

My wife had her US Citizenship interview just two weeks ago and she passed! I know that it was pretty late posting this since I was still thinking on what to include on this article and decided to post tips for those immigrants applying for US citizenship.

She’s been really working hard on it and was stressed out because she had a test as well on one of her classes. There was a citizenship packet sent to her when she first applied and this includes the review and study guide. The good thing was that the questions that are going to be asked will be taken from the study guide.

The whole citizenship application process has been really quick so far when compared to the previous cycles. A closer look at the application progress:

  • March 2011 -submitted application
  • April 2011 – fingerprint
  • July 2011 – interview

When she got to the interview room, the USCIS officer was very nice and accommodating. The officer knows that the interview can really be nerved wracking so as much as possible she was trying to put my wife at ease. The interview process took around 30 minutes starting with the 10 question US history test, review of the application and a couple of verification questions. After the interview, my wife saw the officer approving the application so she just had a sigh of relief.

Now, she is just waiting just for the oathtaking and it will be complete.

Below are some of the tips that we can share based on our experience

Study hard for the Citizenship Test

When my wife applied for the citizenship, she received a packet with instructions. There is also a review packet along with a CD as study aids. My wife has been reading the packet and listening to the CD from time to time but she crammed the week before the interview. US history may be easy for those who have taken the class at school but for someone who has not studied here in the United States, he/she won’t have any idea about the topic. As stated in the application, the questions that will be asked would be taken from the review questions so it was advised to study the review packets thoroughly. My wife said that that the computer randomly picked the questions and you must answer 6 out of the 10. Luckily, my wife had answered the first 6 questions so the officer did not ask the other four.

Review and Bring the Submitted Applications

It is critical to review the applications that you have submitted as the officer will be asking questions based on your application. Also, don’t forget to bring copies of your application. In some cases, where you are applying based on the 3-year rule (married to a US Citizen), you may include additional paperworks.

Arrive early

Just like with any other interview, try to arrive early. When we went, the office is only 15 miles away but with traffic, it would take as an hour to get there. So we left our house an hour and half early. If you can, try to visit the place ahead of time so can survey where to park, the best route in case there is traffic etc. Of course you can always use a GPS to help us navigate through the LA traffic.

Dress up appropriately

Try to dress up as if you are getting interviewed at work. Treat this as if you are applying for a job. When we went there, the guys are dressed up in suits and most of the women are in business clothe. You don’ want to wear jeans or anything inappropriate.

Procedures for Bringing a Lawyer

My wife did not have to do this but some people may be very uncomfortable during the interview. When we went, there was a couple who brought their lawyer with them. Obviously, both of them were scheduled for the interview but they were interviewed separately. The husband got called in first and the lawyer went with him. However, the wife got called in ten minutes later and since the lawyer was still with the husband, she requested to wait until the lawyer was available to go with her.

If you are interested in bringing a lawyer, there is a form that you need to fill out G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited representative. and this must be send before the interview.

Always be honest during the interview

The USCIS knows everything about your records so you might as well be honest. Explain any discrepancies or any arrest or convictions. Nope, my wife did not have any of those but they do ask questions mostly related to the application such as if she is going to school, is she working and where is she getting her support. They also know when you went abroad and the funny thing is they ask this questions even if they already know the answers. They are just trying to see if you are lying.

For the former immigrant turned US Citizens, what is your experience? Do you have any tips that you want to share?

Comments

  1. Congrats to her!! And she aced the test too… that’s great. My step sister in law just got her citizenship at the end of May. I don’t have any tips but it sure is exciting!

  2. Congrats to you and your wife! That’s a wonderful milestone.

    I’ve actually heard that many American-born citizens couldn’t pass the history test. Looking at some of the questions online, I’m not sure I could either! It takes a lot of dedication to memorize that information and be able to answer when there’s so much at stake.

  3. You can actually take an interpreter in with you as well if you are unsure that your English is not good enough to understand everything. I went with my mom for moral support. Unfortunately, she did not pass because she did not study the history test. I think she expected me to help her cheat or something.

    Your advice on studying is a very good tip.

    Some of the questions were hard too. They were asking about who our senators were and stuff like that. It wasn’t just who was the first president, who’s the current president. I think my mom thought she’d know the answers without studying and unfortunately she did not.

  4. Congratulations! That’s a big achievement!

  5. Congrats to your wife. I am a big Flyers fan and Ian Lappierre just passed the test too.

  6. Congrats to your wife. That is great news. I bet it is a huge relief for her.

  7. Hey congrats! How did you guys celebrate?

  8. Congrats! That’s a grand accomplishment, indeed.

    Adding to a comment above, I have heard of people that have trouble with questions about US history – such as who was the 1st president, 16th president, etc. What’s crazy to me is that there are probably many people born and raised here who can’t answer some of these quesions! That’s not an indication of the quesions being difficult, rather the questionable knowledge of our own history by some of our own fellow citizens 🙂

  9. Jackie says:

    Congrats to your wife! I’m not so sure that your comment that “US history may be easy for those who have taken the class at school” is necessarily true though. I doubt I could pass the test…

  10. Congrats to the both of you! Sometimes I find it interesting on how immigrants will know more about the country’s history than its own citizens, due to the requirement to pass knowledge exams.

  11. That’s so exciting! Congratulations – such a big accomplishment!

  12. Congratulations to your wife! I’ve known a number of people who had to go through this process, and I know that it can be stressful.

  13. Andrea says:

    Congrats on the pass, I know how nerve-wracking stuff like that can be!

  14. Congratulations to your wife. My friend and her two other siblings will be submitting their application next month. As they are not online most of the time, I will print a copy of this article and give it to them for information. I know this will help them a lot. Thank you for sharing!

  15. That’s great news! I’m just curious, what country is she from?