Documents to Bring to Your N-400 Citizenship Interview
Many people get nervous when it is finally time to attend their U.S. citizenship interview, and from anxiety can spring forgetfulness. To avoid leaving a piece of essential evidence at home when you go to your N-400 interview, it can be helpful to store your documents in one safe place.
1. Evidence That Should Accompany a Naturalization Application
Before the U.S. citizenship interview ever happens, a green card holder will need to complete an N-400, Application for Naturalization, and submit it with accompanying evidence to the USCIS, either online or by mail.
The filing fee for an N-400 is $640, but persons under the age of 75 will need to pay an extra $85 for biometrics services. Whether the N-400 applicant files online or by mail, there is certain evidence that should be supplied to the USCIS.
In addition to the form, an N-400 package should include a copy of the permanent resident card (“green card”). Married persons should also supply a copy of their marriage certificate. If an N-400 applicant is residing outside the U.S., they will need two passport-style photographs, and they may need to provide official proof of their citizen spouse’s employment abroad.
Additionally, persons who have been involved with the United States military may need a Form N-426, which gets their military service certified, or possibly discharge or current service orders will be required. Some of these documents can then be set aside in a file folder or envelope to take to the naturalization interview.
2. N-400 Citizenship Interview
The purpose of the naturalization interview is to verify the information supplied on the N-400, Application for Naturalization. The interview also allows the USCIS officer to ask questions about aspects of the application that seem unclear to them.
Generally, the green card holder will also be evaluated on their ability to understand, speak, read, and write the English language. They will also be tested on their thorough knowledge of U.S. history and government. Certain applicants are exempt from English and/or civic tests if they meet the age or medical hardship requirements.
The face-to-face N-400 interview is always scheduled by appointment at a local USCIS office near the permanent resident’s physical address that reported in their N-400 form. If you moved after filing the naturalization application, you should report change of address to USCIS in a timely manner so that USCIS could schedule the interview at its local office near to you. Walk-ins are not permitted. To make the day go as smoothly as possible, it can be helpful to have all paperwork organized and readily accessible.
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3. Most Common Items Needed at a Naturalization Interview
When it is finally time for the N-400 naturalization interview, the applicant should bring the following with them:
Hopefully, these items can be easily located because they were kept in a safe place through the application process.
4. Other Evidence Sometimes Needed for an N-400 Interview
Depending on each applicant’s circumstance, specific evidence may be necessary to bring to their N-400 interview. Such circumstances may include, but not limited to:
Applicants who apply for citizenship through marriage to a U.S. citizen
If you filed your N-400 naturalization application based on a 3-year marriage to a U.S. citizen, you should bring evidence to prove that you have been married for at least 3 years, your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years and you have been lived together for at least 3 years. Such documentation may include joint tax returns, joint lease agreements, joint bank statements, joint mortgage, jointly owned property, family-plan health insurance, vehicle insurance, etc. You will need to bring your marriage certificate, as well as termination documents of prior marriages of either of you if any.
Moreover, if you are married to an U.S. citizen that is living and working abroad, you will need to show evidence of your spouse’s employment in a foreign country.
Applicants who have any trip outside the U.S. for more than 6 months
If you have any trip outside the U.S for more than 6 months in the last 5 years, or 3 years if filing for naturalization on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen, you must bring documents during the absence to prove that you maintained your continuous residence in the United States. Such documentation may include tax return, rent or mortgage payment records, bank, credit card or other loan transaction records, car registration and insurance policy, payroll record from a U.S. employer, etc. Failure to provide such evidence will cause a denial to you naturalization application.
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Applicants who have dependent children living apart
If you have dependent children living apart from you, you should bring evidence that you support each dependent child and that you have complied with child support obligations. Bring copies of the court or government order and evidence you have complied with such order, for example, payment records, wage garnishments, etc.
Applicant who are current or former members of the Armed Forces
The same as when you completed your N-400, Application for Citizenship, if you do, or have ever, served in a branch of the United States military, such as the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, you will need to bring extra documents to your naturalization interview.
For example, if you applied for citizenship based on military service, but you are no longer serving, you should bring your discharge papers to the naturalization interview. If you are currently active in the armed forces, you should take a copy of your current military orders with you to the USCIS appointment.
Applicants who have obligation of Selective Service registration
Applicants who have arrest or criminal history
If you have ever been arrested, detained or convicted anywhere in the world, by any law enforcement officer, for any reason, no matter a charge was filed against you or not, no matter the case was vacated, set aside, sealed, expunged, or otherwise removed from your record or not, you must bring official document related to it. A certified copy is normally USCIS wants.
Anyone who has such circumstance will be strictly screened by USCIS. Accordingly, it is highly recommended to consult an immigration attorney with extensive experience before attending an N-400 citizenship interview.