How to pass my U.S. citizenship interview

Part of the citizenship application includes an interview with U.S. immigration services.

In this interview an officer will go over your application. For applicants without a language exemption the interview will be in English. You are expected to understand the officer’s questions and answer them in English. The USCIS officer will also give you an English reading, English writing, and U.S. civics test. 

After submitting your application to USCIS and going to your biometrics appointment to complete this process, you will receive a notice letter from USCIS with your citizenship interview appointment date and time.  

USCIS can reschedule your interview if you are unable to attend on the original date, but you need to request a change in writing as soon as possible after getting your notice. Any changes to your appointments will result in your process taking longer- potentially having to wait months- so make every effort to keep your assigned date. 

If you don’t show up for your citizenship interview and fail to tell USCIS, your application process will be stopped. If that happens, you will need to contact USCIS to restart your application or it will be automatically denied. 

Practice for the citizenship interview  

If you find online resources to practice for your citizenship interview and tests, make sure they are not only for reading or writing. You will need to listen, understand, and speak English during your interview. Find practice resources that use all methods of communication. Here is a sample interview from USCIS you can watch: The Naturalization Interview and Test.

The best thing you can do is to start preparing for your interview and tests right after your send your citizenship application to USCIS. Don’t waste time, find nonprofit resources near you that offer free classes or free practice groups for the interview and tests. 

Citizenship test format  

At your interview, a USCIS officer will give you three sentences to read in English, you must be able to read one of the sentences. You will also get three sentences to write in English, you must be able to write one of the sentences. Finally, the USCIS officer will ask you 10 civics questions and you must answer at least 6 questions correctly.  

There are 100 possible questions the officer can choose from and the answers to some questions may change because of elections or government appointments. For example, if you have to answer, “what is the name of the President of the United States?” your answer will change based on the president in office at the time of your interview. 

You can also check for test updates directly with USCIS.

What happens after the citizenship interview? 

At the end of your interview, you will get the results of both your interview and tests. USCIS may decide on your citizenship application that same day.  If not, they have up to 120 days after your interview to make a decision on your application. 

You can expect one of three outcomes on your citizenship application:  

  • Approval 
  • Denial  
  • Continuation  

Continuation means that:  

  • USCIS needs more information or documents from you 
  • You did not pass the tests or part of the tests 

If you have a continuation, USCIS will send you a “Request for Evidence” (RFE) for the missing or unclear information or documentation in your application, or to schedule a second interview to take place between 60 and 90 days from the date of your first interview. At this second interview, an officer will review any new documents you were requested to send, or have you retake the test you did not pass. 

You are not alone in this process, take advantage of free resources and prepare, prepare, prepare. OPA offers comprehensive immigration guides as well as an aggregated list of national organizations offering services that you can utilize: U.S Citizenship & Immigration Resources.

Test your skills for the citizenship interview and test  

Want to see if your skills are ready? Take a practice citizenship test: U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview Preparation. Or watch our latest Ask The Expert video to see if you need to prepare some more. In our Ask The Expert section you can also ask more questions directly to the expert and get assistance from a qualified nonprofit. 

 U.S. Citizenship Interview FAQs

What is the U.S. citizenship interview?

The U.S. citizenship interview is a part of the naturalization process where an applicant is interviewed by a USCIS officer to verify the information provided in their application. The applicant must also demonstrate their English reading, writing, and speaking skills, as well as their knowledge of U.S. civics.

Do I need to have perfect English skills to pass the citizenship interview?

No, you do not need to have perfect English skills to pass the citizenship interview. The USCIS officers understand that the applicants are not native speakers and may have an accent or make some grammatical errors. As long as you can understand and speak simple English, you can pass the interview.

How long does the U.S. citizenship interview last?

The U.S. citizenship interview usually lasts between 20-30 minutes. The length of the interview can vary depending on how long it takes to verify the information in your application and assess your English and civics skills.


The information provided on is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be considered as professional advice or a substitute for seeking professional guidance.

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