Questions to Prepare for the Citizenship Interview: Top Questions You Need to Know
When an individual applies for US citizenship, at some point there is a citizenship interview that covers a wide variety of topics. Citizenship interview questions can vary widely depending on the current administration and political climate, however, there are some topics which will always come up during your citizenship interview.
Whether you are an employer finding out information for employees or if you are a person looking to complete the US naturalization process citizenship interview questions to help you prepare ahead of time, you'll want to read onto find out the top interview questions for the US citizenship interview.
US citizenship interview questions: Be ready for a wide variety of questions
In addition to answering questions about your application and background, you will take a test during your naturalization interview.
There are two parts of the written citizenship exam – history and government, known as the civics portion, and the English portion, which test your ability to read write and speak in the English language. You may be asked any of these questions during the interview. In addition the US CIS officer conducted the interview will include citizenship interview questions based upon the contact you have included in your naturalization application.
How do I prepare for my citizenship interview?
The citizenship interview is different than the citizen exam. The interview process is different because it's not only about your citizenship knowledge, but also your ability to be a good citizen. For instance, they'll ask you questions like whether you have a good moral character or show that you are loyal to the United States of America. UpCounsel can get you in touch with a lawyer who will help you prepare for the citizenship interview and make sure that everything goes smoothly.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will test your knowledge of U.S. history, government, and English language skills through a civics test and an English-language skills test at your citizenship interview. To prepare for these tests, it's important to study up on these topics before you go in for your interview so that you can do well on them and pass this part of the naturalization process.
What do they ask in a citizenship interview?
Questions Commonly Asked in a citizenship Interview
Most commonly the citizenship interview questions will begin with questions about your application and background. They will want to know about your immigration status, application, and background information.There are also basic questions such as what is your birthdate where were you born and what is your race. The immigration officer will ask you questions about your legal status in the US. They might ask you where and when you entered the country, how long.
Most common personal questions in a citizenship interview:
- Name, including previously used names, maiden name etc.
- Where were you born?
- How long have you lived in U.S.?
- What is your date of birth?
- Why did you come to U.S.?
- Do you have a driver's license? If yes, show it. If no, explain why not.
- Where do you live now? For how long? (with whom?)
- Where did you go to school or college/university?
- What do you do for work now?
Questions about legal issues
You will likely then be asked questions about your legal status and your morals and ethics. This serves to not only determine whether you are eligible for citizenship, but also to assess whether you have good moral character and whether or not you will be a positive and law abiding citizen. So in addition to the questions about how long you have been here, or about what your immigration status is, you should expect questions about taxes and military service and whether or not you have a criminal history.
The interviewer may also want to know if you have any relatives who live abroad, as this could be grounds for denying citizenship. They may ask if you still consider yourself a citizen of another country.
Most common ethics and questions in a citizenship interview:
- Have you ever been charged with a crime?
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
- Have you previously served in the U.S. military?
- Have you ever fled to avoid being drafted into the military?
- Do you owe any taxes to the IRS or to a state or local government?
What will I have to do at my citizenship interview?
During your US citizenship interview, you will be asked questions about your criminal history and financial background. If you are married, you will also be asked about your spouse's criminal history and financial background. Afterwards, and English proficiency tests must be passed. After passing an English proficiency test, there is one final interview where an officer asks standard U.S. civics and history related questions about American democracy (USCIS).
US Citizenship Interview Questions from the Civics Portion of the Naturalization Test
History and Government (Questions 1-12)
The USCIS officer will ask any of a number of questions about US history and government which appear on the naturalization test. These 100 questions and answers to the civics portion of the US naturalization test are available on the USCIS website. Here are some common questions that you may be asked both on the naturalization test and by the USCIS officer during the citizenship interview:
The US constitution
- "What is the law of the land?" [The US Constitution]
- "What does the Constitution do?"
Acceptable answers include: responding that the constitution defines the US government or sets up the government. The constitution is the written document on which the US government is based and protects the fundamental rights of Americans.
- What are the first three words of the Constitution [which convey the concept of self-government]?
The first three words of the constitution are "We the People." These three words emphasize the idea of self governance in the sense that it is "we the people of the United States that govern ourselves.
The Declaration of Independence
- "What did the Declaration of Independence do?"
Response: A correct response explains that the Declaration of Independence announced or declared that we (the United States) is free and no longer ruled over by Great Britain.
2. "What are two rights listed in the Declaration of Independence?"
There are three rights listed for citizens of the United States in the Declaration of Independence. They are life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. You may include any two in your response to the USCIS officer during the citizenship interview.
US rule of law and the US economic system
- "What is the US rule of law?"
Response: When the USCIS officer asks you to define "rule of law" during the citizenship interview, explain that the phrase means everyone must follow the law or obey the law. This means that leaders must obey the law as well. No American is above the law.
"What is the economic system in the United States?"
Response: The US economic system is capitalism. You can also describe the US economy as a market economy or a capitalist economy.
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT (questions 13-47)
Questions 13 through 47 on the naturalization test are grouped together as section B under the heading "System of Government." Here are some top examples of questions and answers describing the US system of government which the USCIS official may ask you during the citizenship interview.
Branches of government
1. "Name one branch of the government."
Response: There are three branches, including the executive branch, the judicial branch, and the legislative branch. You may answer this question by responding with the President (executive branch); the courts (the judicial branch); or Congress (the legislative branch).
- "What are the two parts of the US Congress?"
Response: The US Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. These parts are also known as the two legistlative bodies that comprise the US Congress.
There are 100 US Senators and 435 voting members of the House of Representatives [paraphrase more]. In addition, the USCIS officer who asks the citizenship interview questions may want you to provide the name of your state senator and/or the name of your US Representative
The President and Vice President
- "What is the name of the current President of the United States?"
- "Who is the current Vice President of the United States?
Response: The USCIS website with the full 100 citizenship interview questions and answers provides a link for for USCIS test updates for you to look up the current US president and the VP. As of the writing of this article, the president is Joe Biden and the Vice President is Camala Harris.
You'll also need to know that the President is the Commander in Chief of the military and signs bills so that they become laws. The President also vetoes bills to keep them from becoming laws.
In addition, if the President can no longer serve, the Vice President then becomes President. If both of these leaders cannot serve, the Speaker of the House becomes president.
The President's Cabinet Secretary
- "What does the President's cabinet do?"
The presidential cabinet advises the president.
- What is the highest court in the United States called?
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the US. The USCIS official conducting your citizenship interview may also ask you to name the cou
What are two cabinet-level positions?
There are 16 positions in the President's cabinet. For a full list, see the USCIS test and answers linked above. Some key members of the cabinet are:
- Vice President
- Attorney General
- Secretary of Defense
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of Homeland Security
- Secretary of State
- Secretary of Education
- Secretary of Labor
- Secretary of Energy
The Supreme Court
What tools should I bring to my citizenship interview?
Most people will bring their US citizenship application form and green card with them. It's a good idea to make a copy of your completed form –N 400 and supporting documents before sending it to the USNCIS and review your answers prior to your interview appointment. It's also a good idea to bring evidence of your residence in the United States, like copies of your utility bills, mortgage statements or lease agreements. Bring a pen and paper if you want to take notes during your interview. It's also advisable to wear professional clothes.
Where does the interview take place?
Your paperwork will list the USCIS field office you will need to go to. This is determined by the ZIP code you provided in the "Current Physical Address" section of your Form N-400.
How long does an interview last?
The length of each interview varies while there is no time limit, a interviews are around 15-30 minutes, with the average interview being 20 minutes.
Can I bring my children?
Even though they may be on the application, minor children do not need to attend the interview. In fact, it is best to not bring them to the interview. They are however, invited to participate at the naturalization ceremony and can even recite the oath with their parents if they choose to do so.
Becoming a US citizen requires properly navigating US immigration law requirements and for that reason it can be a fairly complex process. That's why you'll want to have a competent and experienced immigration lawyer to help you every step of the way. UpCounsel provides you access to the top fully vetted immigration lawyers who can help you with the application process, provide you insight into the citizenship interview, and other aspects of becoming a US citizen. To find out more on how UpCounsel can help companies and individuals with the US Naturalization process, please contact us.