When a person declares his or her intent to naturalize, or become a U.S. citizen, he or she is put through a rigorous application process. Citizenship is a privilege, not a right; therefore, one must meet all the criteria before being approved to naturalize. This includes passing an interview with immigration personnel, and for many this represents the final hurdle.
Avoid Sinking Your Chances
Certain actions will effectively get your application denied with very little review even before an interview occurs. One of the most common reasons for a naturalization application to be denied is missing one’s interview date. If you have a conflict on the date you are given, it is critical that you contact U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible. If you simply blow off the interview and do not communicate with authorities within a certain period of time (usually 6 months), your case will be ‘administratively’ closed and your application denied.
Another way to make an unfavorable impression on USCIS is to fail to bring the appropriate items to the interview. While the immigration officer will have your submitted application, he or she may ask you to bring further documentation, such as birth certificates or proof of financial status.
In the Interview
When you arrive at the interview, you will likely have to wait, as many individuals are often scheduled for the same time. When you are taken back by the immigration official, he or she will want to primarily discuss your N-400 petition, as well as the relevant documents submitted with it. While this is partly to confirm the information contained in your application, it is also often a test of sorts to ensure that applicants can in fact speak and write English as well as they have stated that they can.
If you are exempt from the language requirements, other arrangements will be made. The officer will verify your application information, and accept the paperwork officially, meaning that if any falsehoods are found on the application itself after this point, you may be subject to perjury charges or worse. Fraud is a crime of moral turpitude, and as such, may subject you to loss of your immigration status.
You will also take the official English and civics tests which are required by U.S. law at this interview. The English test is usually oral, and it is acceptable to ask for repetitions or rephrasing without a penalty to your score. The civics test is also oral, requiring six out of ten correct answers for a passing grade. If you fail either of these tests, they can be rescheduled for as soon as 30 days from that date, but may be scheduled for later.
If you answer the officer’s questions to his or her satisfaction, and do not present any reason why you should be denied, you will likely be approved for citizenship at the conclusion of the interview, with the official swearing-in to come at a later date.
Enlist an Immigration Attorney
Naturalization is the end goal of many immigrants to the United States, and it can require an experienced legal professional to help you achieve that goal. The dedicated Chicago naturalization attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will be happy to assist you with your citizenship application, and will do our best to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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