To become a U.S. citizen, you must have a basic knowledge of English. That is one of the reasons for the oral interview in the U.S. Citizenship test. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) officer who will conduct the oral interview wants to determine if you can speak and understand basic English.

What you must know

The personal interview will be between you and a USCIS officer. The officer will look through your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) to see that everything is in order. The officer may ask about things in your application. Then the USCIS officer will begin questioning you to find out if you are ready to become a citizen. The officer wants to know if you have knowledge of civics (American history and government). The officer will probably ask questions about your personal life and about everyday life.

Dictation is usually included in the oral interview: The USCIS officer will say a sentence, and you will write it. The purpose of the dictation is to determine whether or not you can write simple sentences in English. These sentences may deal with history or government, your personal life, or everyday life. You may also be asked to read a few simple sentences.

Sample questions

The following are sample questions that you might hear at your oral interview. Remember, this is an oral interview. Practice the questions and answers out loud.

American History and Government

  • Question: What year was the Declaration of Independence signed?
    Answer: 1776

  • Question: What branch of government can declare war?
    Answer: Congress

Questions about Your Personal Life

The answers given to the following questions are sample answers. More than one answer is given if there is more than one way to answer the question. You should answer according to your personal experience. Prepare your own answers if they are different from the sample answers.

  • Question: How old are you?
    Answer: I am 35 years old.

  • Question: Have you ever had a traffic ticket?
    Answer: No, I have never had a traffic ticket.
    Answer: Yes, I got a ticket for speeding.
    Answer: Yes, I got a parking ticket.

Questions about Everyday Life

The answers given here are sample answers. Prepare an answer in advance if it is different from the sample answers.

  • Question: What color is your shirt?
    Answer: My shirt is white (blue, red, green, black, gray, brown).

  • Question: How many cents are in a dollar?
    Answer: 100


The USCIS officer will ask you to write some sentences. The officer will say the sentences, and you will write them. Practice writing these sample sentences.

Officer: This table is square.
You write: ______________________________________________
Officer: I will vote in every election.
You write: _______________________________________________
Officer: The president must be born in the United States.
You write: ______________________________________________

At some point in the interview, the officer may ask you to read a few lines from your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). Or the officer may give you a sheet of paper with a few sentences on it. The officer will ask you to read what is on the paper. It could look something like this:

The American flag is red, white, and blue. It has thirteen stripes. The stripes are red and white. The flag has fifty white stars on a field of blue. The stars stand for the states. The stripes stand for the original thirteen colonies.

These are only examples of what might occur in your oral interview. Each USCIS officer is different and will give an individual style to the interview. Be ready for anything.

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