I helped our client, a legal permanent resident (green card holder) from El Salvador, with her N-400 Application for Naturalization interview with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
A person is eligible to apply for citizenship if the following criteria are met:
- The applicant is at least 18 years old;
- The applicant has been a legal permanent resident for the past 5 years;
- The applicant has been a legal permanent resident for the past 3 years and is married and living with that U.S. citizen, and
- The applicant has complied with all of the physical presence and continuous residence requirements.
My client came to me to clear up the rumors she had heard about what happens in a USCIS citizenship interview. In addition to those concerns, my client was also worried about the following:
- Forgetting the response to the civics and history questions that come up in the citizenship interview;
- Not being prepared enough for the civics and history part of the test; and
- Going into the citizenship interview without representation.
My approach was the following:
- The client and I planned on several dates before the interview to meet and practice the civics and history questions;
- We met and reviewed the questions on the N-400 Application for Naturalization that the client had submitted. That is important to do because the officer will ask questions about the application submitted, about whether there are any changes, or whether there were any mistakes made that should be addressed; and
- I ensured that the client felt completely comfortable before the interview date.
I met with the client at the USCIS location and accompanied her inside the interview room. The client was extremely nervous and I immediately explained that to the officer, who understood and became more empathetic toward my client.
My client successfully passed the interview, and to our surprise, she was able to complete her oath ceremony on the same day. Less than 2 hours after the interview my client became a full United States citizen.