Separate from the civics questions and English language test you have to take, there are other questions that the USCIS officer will ask at your citizenship interview. Many of these questions will come up from the information on your A-file, and others will be follow-ups from the information you provide. This article explains what your A-file is, and also provides a sample list of common questions you can expect at your interview.
What is an A-file?
The Alien File (A-File) is a collection of your official immigration records. All U.S. green card holders have an A-File. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses the A-File to track your immigration history. USCIS uses your “Alien Registration Number” (A-Number) to identify your A-File. You may find your A-Number on your permanent resident card.
Your A-File will contain records of all of your communications with USCIS. The file will also have records of USCIS’s communications with other government agencies about you. For example, this may include communications with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Your A-File will include the following:
- Records of when and how you became a green cardholder.
- Records of your green card application(s).
- Records of family members’ green card applications (if you were their sponsor).
- The supporting documents you’ve provided to USCIS.
- Records of the other forms or documents you’ve filed with USCIS. This may include documentation for work permits and travel permits.
- If applicable, records of any of your interactions with law enforcement.
- If applicable, records of involvement in immigration proceedings or deportation hearings.
In most cases, you may request to see these records. You may submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to USCIS. Review FOIA.gov for instructions on submitting FOIA requests.
Some Common U.S. Citizenship Interview Questions
From greeting the USCIS officer to being placed under oath during the Oath of Allegiance ceremony, USCIS officers pay close attention to your answers to their questions when assessing and confirming your eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
Below are some examples of questions USCIS may ask during your naturalization interview. USCIS may not ask all of the questions that follow, and they may ask additional questions not found below. Before your interview, you should review your citizenship application. Many of the questions you’ll receive are similar to those on your application.
When You Greet the USCIS Officer
- How are you today?
- How do you feel?
When You’re Being Placed Under Oath
- Do you promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
- Do you understand the meaning of an “oath”?
Your Basic Personal Information
- What is your name?
- Have you ever used any other names?
- Do you plan on changing your legal name?
- What is your date of birth?
- Where were you born?
- Are you Hispanic or Latino?
- What is your race or ethnicity?
Your Physical Attributes
- What color are your eyes?
- What color is your hair?
- How tall are you?
Your Family History
- What is your mother’s full name?
- What is your mother’s maiden name?
- What is your father’s full name?
- Are one or both of your parents U.S. citizens? If so, since when?
- Were your parents married before your 18th birthday?
- How many children do you have?
- What are your children’s names?
- When are your children’s birthdays?
- Where do your children currently reside?
- Are your children your biological children, stepchildren, or adopted children?
Your Relationship History
- Are you single, married, divorced, or widowed?
- What is your current spouse’s name?
- When and where did you get married?
- Is your spouse a citizen of the United States?
- What is your spouse’s nationality?
- Where does your spouse hold citizenship?
- What is your spouse’s date of birth?
- Has your spouse served in the military?
- What is your spouse’s occupation?
- Where does your spouse work?
- Have you had any previous marriages? If so, when did these end?
- Has your spouse had any previous marriages? If so, when did these end?
Your Military Background
- Have you ever served in the U.S. military?
- Have you ever left the United States to avoid a military draft?
- Have you ever deserted the U.S. military?
- Have you lived in the United States or received your green card anytime between the ages of 18 and 26? If so, and you are male, did you register with the Selective Service? If yes, when did you register? If not, why didn’t you register?
Your Immigration Status
- Which country or countries are you a citizen of?
- When did USCIS approve your green card?
- How long have you been a U.S. permanent resident?
Your Travel Abroad
- Since becoming a green card holder, how many times have you left the United States?
- Did any of your trips abroad last six months or longer?
- Why did you need to travel abroad?
- When did you last travel abroad?
- Which countries have you visited during your travels?
- On what day did you return to the United States?
Your Residential History
- Where do you reside? How long have you lived there?
- Have you resided anywhere else in the last five (or three) years? When did you live elsewhere?
Your Employment and Education History
- Where do you work?
- What is your job?
- Where else have you worked in the past five (or three) years? When did you work there?
- Where did you last attend school?
- What is the name of your school?
- When did you attend that school?
Your Income Tax Obligations
- Since becoming a green card holder, have you filed all necessary income tax returns?
- Since becoming a green card holder, have you ever claimed to be a “non-resident” on a federal, state, or local income tax return?
- Do you owe any taxes to the federal government or your state or local government?
Your Personal Ethics
- Have you ever falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen?
- Have you ever registered to vote or voted in a federal, state, or local election in the United States?
- Have you ever discriminated against or denied another person’s rights because of their nationality, race, religious beliefs, membership in particular social groups, or political opinions?
- Do you support the American government?
- Do you support the U.S. Constitution and its amendments?
- Do you promise to obey the laws of the United States?
- Do you understand and are willing to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
- Would you be willing to defend the United States in a war if necessary?
- If necessary, would you be willing to perform noncombatant (civilian) services in the U.S. military or work of national importance?
- Have you ever been a member of nobility in any other country? If so, are you willing to give up these titles when swearing allegiance to the United States?
- Have you ever been associated with or a member of any organization, association, fund foundation, party, club, or similar group anywhere in the world? If so, please state the name of the group, its purpose, and why you got involved.
- Have you ever been associated with the Communist Party, the Nazi Party, or a terrorist organization?
Your Legal History
You may receive questions on whether you have any previous arrests, citations, charges, convictions, or incarceration records. You may also receive questions on involvement in police, rebel, or vigilante groups. Additionally, the immigration officer may ask whether you have any immigration violations. Common immigration violations include unlawful entry or presence or overstaying your visa. You should review Part 12 of Form N-400 (the “Application for Naturalization”) for a complete list of possible questions.
If you answer “yes” to any of the questions in Part 12 of the Form N-400 application, you should consult an immigration attorney for help. You can use USA.gov’s website to find an immigration lawyer or search for legal advice.
- Do you understand why we are interviewing you?
- Why do you wish to become a U.S. citizen?
- Has a legal official ever declared you incompetent or confined you to a mental institution?
You may also receive questions that you studied for the U.S. citizenship test or naturalization test. The U.S. citizenship test includes civics test questions like, “Who was the first president of the United States?”, and a basic English test (with both a reading test and a writing test). You can find sample questions and answers to the citizenship test in our learning center.
Applying for U.S. citizenship can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you can't afford the attorney fees and don't want to handle your citizenship case alone, we may be able to help. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!