U.S. Naturalization: The N-400 Interview and Exam

US Naturalization N 400

As business immigration attorneys, we do a lot of work for companies looking to sponsor foreign workers. We represent those workers as they seek to get work visas and green cards. But a full picture of employment-based immigration law would be incomplete without naturalization. Naturalization is often the endgame for workers who come to the United States. 

Our immigration attorneys are naturalization experts. We offer a variety of naturalization services, including assistance in completing the N-400 form and preparing for the naturalization interview and exam.

If your business employs foreign workers who have decided to become U.S. citizens, you can help them in that endeavor by taking advantage of our naturalization services. Anything you can do to help your employees realize their dreams of U.S. citizenship will be much appreciated by them. Most employers require employees to pay naturalization costs out of pocket, but simply having an established relationship with a strong immigration firm is very valuable. 

The N-400 Form

As with anything related to the U.S. government, becoming a naturalized citizen starts with filling out a form. The form is known as N-400. Its purpose is to verify an applicant’s eligibility for naturalization. In addition, the form collects all the personal information required for approval.

In order for your workers to complete and submit the form, they must be at least 18 years old on the date they apply for naturalization. Assuming they received their green card based on employment, they must have held their green card for at least five years.

The Interview and Test

U.S. immigration law requires that any foreign national wishing to become a U.S. citizen must undergo an interview and test with a U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) officer. The good news is that the interview and test take place at the same time.

The interview portion is designed to verify the information contained on the applicant’s N-400 form. It is an opportunity for the officer to ask questions that may clear up any confusion. It is also an opportunity for the applicant to more fully introduce themselves and speak to the information they provided in their application.

As for the actual N-400 test, it consists of both English and civics sections. The English section is divided into three categories:

  • Speaking – Applicants must demonstrate an ability to communicate in English, at least at a basic level. Speaking and comprehension are assessed through a series of questions that applicants must answer orally.
  • Reading – Applicants must demonstrate their ability to read English by correctly reading aloud at least one of three sentences.
  • Writing – Likewise, applicants must demonstrate the ability to write English by correctly writing out one of three sentences.

The civics portion of the test measures the applicant’s knowledge of U.S. government and history. There are two different tests. The 2008 test is given to applicants who submitted the N-400 form before December 1, 2020, and after March 1, 2021.

Applicants who filed between those two dates can choose between the 2008 and 2020 tests. The 2008 test involves ten questions of which the applicant must answer at least six correctly. The 2020 test involves twenty questions of which twelve must be answered correctly.

Exemptions and Accommodations

Immigration law does allow certain exemptions and accommodations for the N-400 interview and test. For example, if an applicant is at least 50 years old and has continuously and legally resided in the United States for 20 years, they are exempt from the English portion of the test. Likewise, applicants can take the civics portion of the test in their native language as long as they bring an interpreter with them to the interview.

As immigration attorneys, we know all the ins and outs of the naturalization process. We would be happy to assist you or your employees as they seek to become U.S. citizens. Please contact us at: 408 715 7067; or info@grahamadair.com.

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