After filing your citizenship application, your journey to becoming a US citizen is not yet over. The citizenship interview is the final step before completing your naturalization journey.

Near the end of your Form N-400 processing period, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send you an appointment notice for the citizenship interview. And if all goes well, you will likely get US citizenship from the USCIS by the end of your appointment.

Yet, millions of eligible permanent residents or green card holders don't take the next steps toward becoming US citizens because they are worried about the naturalization interview and test.

It's natural to feel apprehension when faced with a citizenship interview, especially if you don't know what to expect. If you understand what to expect and do some appropriate preparation, the rest of the interview should go smoothly.

What Happens at the US Citizenship Interview?

At the USCIS citizenship interview, an official will ask for your identification, request you to raise your hand and swear under oath, to tell the truth, and ask you about the following:

  • Your background
  • Supporting documents acting as evidence for your case
  • Your place of residence and length of stay
  • Your personality/character
  • Your understanding and attachment to the United States Constitution and
  • Your willingness to recite an Oath of Allegiance

Review your Form N-400 carefully prior to your appointment, as a significant part of the citizenship interview surrounds a review of your application for naturalization (Form N-400). You should also be ready to provide any additional information, such as details of the time you traveled outside the US or if you recently took any trips abroad.

In addition, prepare to answer if there have been any changes since you filed Form N-400.

In most cases, the changes in your application are insignificant since they are normal changes in life. A new address, a new job, a new child, or a vacation abroad generally will not affect your naturalization process. But it's still crucial to understand how any changes in your Form N-400 may or may not impact your naturalization eligibility.

Some changes that may affect your eligibility include but are not limited to the following:

  • If you traveled outside the United States for more than six months.
  • If you were recently arrested for particular crimes or messed up the exceptional moral character requirement.
  • If you are recently separated or divorced from a US citizen who you are using as the basis of your citizenship eligibility.

If any of these situations affect you, it's highly recommended that you contact an immigration attorney before attending the citizenship interview.

What Do They Ask in the Citizenship Interview?

During the citizenship interview, the USCIS officer will ask you multiple citizenship interview questions, including the following:

  1. Questions depending on the content included on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  2. English Language Test, which tests your reading, writing, and speaking abilities in the English language
  3. History and Government or Civics tests

How do I prepare for my citizenship interview?

To prepare for the citizenship interview, you'll need to understand what to expect and what questions the USCIS officer may ask.

Questions About Your Form N-400

As already mentioned, a substantial portion of the citizenship interview includes questions related to the N-400, Application for Naturalization you filed. The USCIS officers observe responses during the interview using multiple questions based on your application and supporting documents.

Therefore, you need to spend a significant amount of time reviewing the copy of your N-400 application and be familiar with the questions and answers before attending the interview. This helps you to be comfortable when you anticipate answering the interview questions. In addition, take note of any events or situations that may have affected your questionnaire answers in your application.

It's imperative to note that apart from confirming the information in the N-400 application, the USCIS officer will use this portion of the interview to test your English-speaking ability unless you are exempted from taking the interview in a different language.

English Test

You will need to demonstrate your ability to write, read and speak English in ordinary usage or basic English level. This means pertinent and comprehensive communication using simple grammar and vocabulary. You may ask for words to be rephrased or repeated and may make some mistakes in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary and still pass.

English skills are tested in the following ways:

Speaking: There is no official test for English-speaking skills. Your ability to communicate in English will be evaluated from the time the USCIS officer meets you. The USCIS officer will discuss your Form N-400 application with you while assessing whether you can speak in English.

Reading Test: You will be typically asked to read one written sentence of three sentences. You must read it aloud in a manner indicating that you understand the meaning of that sentence and that the USCIS officer is able to understand the sentence.

While you may omit short words or make intonation or pronunciation errors, you must read all the content words. The errors should not interfere with the meaning of the sentence.

Writing: You must write one sentence of three sentences dictated by the USCIS officer in a way that the officer understands. You must not abbreviate any words.

You don't fail the writing test because of capitalization, spelling, or pronunciation mistakes unless these interfere with the meaning of the sentence and the USCIS officer cannot understand the sentence.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers several free study tools to help you prepare for the English reading and writing test.

History or Civics Test

You will also have to take civics tests to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the United States' history, principles, and government fundamentals. The test will be delivered in English unless you qualify for a language exemption, in which case you will take the test in a language of your choice.

To sufficiently show knowledge and understanding of civics, you must pass the civics test by answering a number of interview questions correctly.

Test questions are selected randomly, and a USCIS officer administers the questions orally. The test stops when you correctly answer the minimum number of interview questions needed to pass the civics test, usually at least six out of ten, to demonstrate your knowledge of United States history and government. The USCIS website offers a full list of all questions that an immigration officer can ask. The questions are picked randomly and asked until you answer at least six correctly. You are free to phrase your answers the way you prefer as long as they are correct.

The USCIS currently offers two versions of the civics test: the 2008 test with up to 100 questions and the 2020 test with up to 128 questions. Your applications and initial naturalization dates determine which version of the civics questions you may take.

And like the English test, several free learning tools are available to help you prepare for the civics test.

Citizenship Interview Question Samples to Help You Prepare

While the USCIS offers free study tools with a complete list of interview questions to help you prepare, here are a few samples to help you prepare. You will be asked some of these questions or not. But it helps to be well prepared, however, to understand how simple the interview questions are, the USCIS uses each interview question as a part of your English-speaking test.

Personal Information or Background Questions- N-400 Review

These are interview questions in your N-400 application. The USCIS officer uses these questions to confirm eligibility and that no changes can affect your naturalization.

Personal history

  • What is your name?
  • Where were you born? 
  • How old are you?
  • What color are your eyes and hair? 
  • What is your race? 
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What are your religious beliefs?
  • What is your current job?
  • What's your highest level of education? 

Family history

  • Are you married?
  • Are your parents US citizens?
  • When did you get married? 
  • Is your spouse a US citizen?
  • What is your spouse's country of residence?
  • If divorced or separated, when did your previous marriage end?
  • Do you have children?
  • When and where were your children born?
  • Where do your children currently live?


  • What is your job?
  • How much do you earn per year?
  • How long have you been an employee at your current workplace?
  • Are you your family's sole provider?
  • Do you intend to apply for financial assistance from the US government? 
  • If married, does your spouse have a job?
  • Do you pay your local income tax return?
  • Do you owe any state or local government federal taxes? 

History or Civics Questions

Similarly, USCIS offers a complete list of 100 civics questions in this portion of the naturalization interview. You can use this list to help you prepare for the citizenship interview. The civics interview questions cover the US government, history, flag, constitution, and court.

Here is a list of some of the more common questions that are asked on this test:

United States Government

  • Who is the current United States President?
  • When do citizens vote for the US President?
  • How often do people vote for a new president?
  • Which are the two primary political parties in the United States?
  • What are the three branches or entities of the US government?
  • What branch of the government is responsible for law-making?

United States History

  • Who was the first US President?
  • Which country did the United States fight in the Revolutionary War to get independence?
  • Which countries did the United States oppose during World War II?

United States Constitution

  • Which year was the Constitution of the United States written?
  • Who is guaranteed Constitutional rights?
  • What is the introduction part of the Constitution called?
  • The US Constitution has how many amendments?
  • Name one requirement according to the Constitution to be an American President.

How Long is the Naturalization Interview?

A typical naturalization interview lasts roughly 20 to 30 minutes. However, the exact time taken varies depending on each applicant.

Can I Bring a Child to the US Citizenship Interview?

No! The applicant scheduled for the interview is the only person allowed in the testing room unless in special situations where an applicant must bring an attorney or representative by filing Form G-28.

Children are allowed to wait outside the testing room, along with a caregiver.

What Documents Should I Bring to My Citizenship Interview?

Attend the interview at the scheduled date and time stated on the appointment notice and bring the following documents to the interview:

  • Form I-1551, Green Card or Permanent Resident Card
  • Interview appointment notice
  • A second form of government-issued identification with your photograph (driver's license, passport, or state-issued identification card)
  • All your valid and expired passports, as well as travel documents
  • Other documents as required by the USCIS from Form M-477, Document Checklist.

Exemptions and Accommodations For Citizenship Interview

The USCIS allows exemptions and modifications to the citizenship interview requirements. These are available only to individuals who qualify.

English Test Exemptions

You are exempt from the English skills test under the following situations:

  • You are age 50 or above at the time of filing your naturalization application and have lived as a permanent resident in the US (green card holder) for 20 years or more (also known as the "50/20" exception), or
  • You are age 55 or above at the time of filing the N-400 application and have lived as a green card holder or permanent resident in the US for 15 years or more ( commonly known as the "55/15" exception).

Note that you will have to take the civics test even if you qualify for the above exemptions.

Civics Test Accommodations

If you qualify for the 50/20 or 55/15 exemptions, you will be allowed to take the civics test in your preferred language. In this case, you will need to bring an interpreter fluent in both your native and English language to the interview.

In addition, if you are at least 65 years old and have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for 20 years or more at the time of filing the N-400 application, you will be given special consideration when it comes to the civics requirement.

Disability or Impairments Accommodations

You may qualify for accommodations if you have a developmental or physical disability or mental impairment preventing you from showing your understanding and knowledge of the English language or civics requirements during the naturalization interview. File an original Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, to request this exemption. This form must have been completed by a licensed medical doctor or clinical psychologist.

In Conclusion

Successfully demonstrating your eligibility through the citizenship interview can be challenging. But working with a skilled immigration law firm can make the naturalization process easier. If you don't want to walk alone through the interview handling your citizenship case, UpCounsel may be able to help. Our immigration law firms help guide eligible applicants through the process and help them prepare appropriately for their green card application. Get in touch to see how our attorneys can help you smoothly complete your application process.