The application and interview process
The application to become a naturalized United States citizen is filed on Form N-400. Form N-400 requires the immigrant applicant to provide detailed information of the applicant’s personal history; marital and family-related information; places of employment and addresses in the United States for the preceding five years; all trips outside of the United States since becoming a permanent resident lasting more than six months; whether the applicant seeks a waiver of the civics and history test at the naturalization interview; and details of any arrest history.
Form N-400 is submitted along with a filing fee paid by way of check or money order to USCIS in the sum of $675.00, and two (2) passport-sized photographs. The permanent resident applicant should also include copies of all relevant documents along with the application. Such documents would include: a copy of the front and back of the “green card,” a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate, a copy of the applicant’s passport, a copy of the applicant’s marriage certificate or divorce decree (as applicable), copies of the birth certificates for the applicant’s children (as applicable), and copies of all certificates of disposition for any arrests that the applicant may have in the United States (as applicable).
Before mailing Form N-400, required fee, passport photographs, and supporting documents to USCIS, the permanent resident applicant is reminded to keep a copy of the complete application that is being mailed out, including copies of passport photographs, copies of check/money order for filing fees, and accompanying documents, for his or her personal records. In addition, it is recommended that any and all documents being mailed by the applicant to USCIS should always be mailed by certified mail/return receipt requested.
Subsequent to receiving Form N-400, USCIS schedules the applicant to have his or her fingerprints taken, and eventually to come into a local USCIS office to be interviewed on the application. At the interview, the applicant (unless a waiver has been granted to elderly or infirm applicants) is required to answer ten (10) questions on United States history and Government, including questions specific to the State in which the applicant resides. The applicant must answer at least six (6) questions accurately. The examiner selects ten (10) random questions from a list of 100 questions.
The interviewing examiner also requires the applicant to write brief sentences in the English language, and read a brief passage aloud in English. The applicant must establish to the examiner’s satisfaction that he or she has sufficient knowledge of United States history and Government, and is adequately literate and fluent in the English language. A Sample Naturalization test is provided at the end of this article.