Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Commandment #5 of Applying for Naturalization: Thou Shall Prepare Well for the Interview

There are some key points that applicants should consider as they prepare for their naturalization interview before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

An applicant for naturalization must meet certain requirements.  Apart from ensuring qualification - preferably before application, the applicant must prepare well.  What is a nervous applicant to do? Here are some thoughts to help along the way. 
  • Read the N-400 Naturalization Application carefully.  It's important that the applicant understand what exactly is it that they signed and submitted to USCIS. Obviously this is best done before submitting the application.  For non-native English speakers, some of the language used in the N-400 application can be a bit confusing and intimidating.  The interviewing officer will read most of those questions verbatim.  Add to that some of the legal language peppered throughout the questionnaire, and your head can be spinning in no time. Reviewing the questions in advance will help the applicant, and the interviewing officer, to move the interview along that much more quickly.
  • Know and understand what the Oath of Allegiance really says.  An applicant for naturalization must show that he or she is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and will be required to take the Oath of Allegiance.  If the applicant doesn't know what the oath actually says, then a question might arise as to whether the applicant really understands what he or she is doing.
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

  • Lastly, before heading out the door, the applicant should review carefully the list of documents needed to ensure that he or she is bringing the documents required. Any delay, even for a simple document, is many times measured in months - not weeks.  Below you will find a document checklist and a sample interview notice.  
This may very well be my last entry for this year.  If it is, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and amazing New Year.  Cheers.