Becoming a U.S. Citizen: Preparing for Your Interview

When you receive your notice for your U.S. citizenship interview, it is finally time to conclude your preparations. Hopefully, you have spent the preceding months working on your English language skills and have studied all of the review questions for the U.S. History portion of the interview.

Preparing for Your Interview: What to Bring

Your notice to appear for the interview will include a “short list” of things you must bring with you, but here is a full list of what you should have to present to the interviewer. If you don’t have everything, you should still go to the interview, but try to collect as much of the following as possible.

– Green Card
– Photo ID
– Passport
– Tax Returns (for the last three years, at least)
– Selective Service Registration (for males)
– Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

Preparing for Your Interview: What to Wear

Although the USCIS officer should not base his or her decision on your appearance, it will logically have some bearing. You don’t need to dress in a tuxedo or evening gown, but try to dress as professionally as possible.

Avoid wearing any clothing or jewelry that might instigate questions of your moral character. For example, refrain from wearing t-shirts with offensive slogans or jewelry with satanic or offensive symbols. For example, wearing a t-shirt with a marijuana leaf emblazoned on the front is not a good idea.

Also, wear clothing in which you feel comfortable. You’ll probably be nervous about the interview to begin with, so don’t make it harder on yourself. A pair of black or brown pants with a blouse or dress shirt is preferable. Ladies, feel free to wear a skirt or a dress.

Preparing for Your Interview: Arrive Early

Parking, confusing hallways, traffic, construction and other factors might contribute to a tardy arrival, so avoid it at all costs. It is much better to be early than to be late, so make allowances for problems. If you know someone who has been there before, ask for advice about the best way to go, and how to get to the interview room. Also, you’ll have to go through security metal detectors, so find out if there will be a line.

Preparing for Your Interview: Go Over Study Material

For the two days prior to your interview, go over the study material again to re-familiarize yourself. Don’t spend 48 hours cramming, and don’t overload your brain, but be sure that you’ve studied enough. Have a friend or family member quiz you, or even set up a mock interview with someone who has done it before. Anything that chases away the nerves is a good thing.

Preparing for Your Interview: Leave Weapons at Home

USCIS interviews do take place in a federal building, so check your purse and pockets for any items that could be construed as a weapon. Swiss Army knives, fingernail files, and other objects that might be questionable should remain at home.

NOTE: Don’t worry if you accidentally bring something that the security officers confiscate; you’ll receive it back when you’re ready to leave.

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