Many of our students hope to become US citizens one day, and many teachers are helping those students. Here are some tips gleaned from a recent presentation by a USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Services) officer.
Immigration services are divided into three areas. The USCIS officers are in charge of benefits and applications. They do not handle law enforcement and do not report to ICE.
Help filling out the N-400 citizenship application should be sought from immigration attorneys or accredited representatives. A list of accredited representatives in Colorado can be found at https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/pages/attachments/2016/06/27/raroster-orgs-reps-state-city.pdf#COLORADO
Filing cost is currently $680, but it may be raised by December.
Depending on age and length of permanent residency in the US at the time of filing (not the time of the interview), some older applicants may be able to take the test in their native language.
After filing the application, applicants will be called for an interview. During the interview, they will be asked questions about their application and they will be tested on their Civics and English knowledge.
The English portion of the interview rates candidates reading, writing, speaking and listening ability. Speaking and listening are tested informally beginning as soon as the candidate enters the room. It’s a good idea to study the questions on the N-400 because most of the oral interview will be conducted around information on the application.
The reading and writing sections of the English test are more formal. The reading test will use vocabulary from the official list found on the USCIS site: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/PDFs/reading_vocab.pdf.
For the writing portion, the candidate is usually asked to answer questions from the reading portion. The officer will read these questions aloud. The applicant can request that they be repeated. The written responses do not need to be perfect in grammar or vocabulary, but key content words must be recognizable.
For the Civics portion of the test, the candidates should study 100 questions about the US. https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/100q.pdf. During the test, candidates will be asked up to ten of those questions. As soon as they answer six correctly, the test is finished.
There are many resources available for both teachers and students on the official USCIS site’s Citizenship Resource Center: https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship