Jump to content
LBP

Don't be lulled into thinking N400 interview is casual

32 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

:wow:


XMY93gI.jpgXMY9m5.png

AAD1m5.pngThankYouUSA-Kosova.jpg

See my Timeline for details of our visa journey
17-Aug-2011 Our Wedding Day in Kosovo heart9.gif
07-Nov-2011 Filed I-130
21-Nov-2011 NOA1
23-Aug-2012 NOA2 Approved 276 days
10-Jan-2013 Case complete via email

28-Feb-2013 Interview, result AP
11-Apr-2013 Embassy appointment - VISA APPROVED and issued in 4 hours
30-Apr-2013 POE Chicago O'Hare - He's home!

04-Sep-2014 Moved to northern California

12-Mar-2015 Filed ROC
16-Mar-2015 Documents delivered
18-Mar-2015 Check cashed
19-Mar-2015 NOA1 dated 03/16/2015 received in mail
13-Apr-2015 Biometrics completed
02-Feb-2016 Contacted USCIS about case, was told it's on hold because of security checks (email)
04-Mar-2016 Moved to Wisconsin
12-Aug-2016 New Biometrics appointment
14-Sep-2016 Contacted USCIS again about case (email said we should hear from them by Oct 6)
22-Sep-2016 Letter from USCIS dated 9/20 explaining the Service Request is currently being reviewed by an officer.
22-Sep-2016 Letter from USCIS dated 9/20 with Interview appointment for both of us for 28-Sep-2016
28-Sep-2016 Interview, both of us, separated, not hard, 10 min. each, result---said hubby will get GC in about 10 days
26-Oct-2016 *****STILL WAITING*****
02-Nov-2016 Card is being produced!!!
08-Nov-2016 Card is mailed
10-Nov-2016 Card is Delivered!!!! YAY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although my Belarusian wife's application for naturalization was approved, the interview in Phoenix was exceedingly unpleasant and not at all what we had prepared for. My wife's name is Galina and she has had her green card since 2008. During the Soviet era, some official altered Galina to Halina (H is pronounced as G in Russian). Her Belarusian passport says Halina, her green card says Halina, her marriage certificate says Halina, her state ID says Halina, her Social Security card says Halina, and every other document says Halina. The only document that says Galina is the apostile (English translation) of her birth certificate. My wife is an extremely pleasant and open 60-year-old housewife.

The interview began with an unanticipated KGB-style interrogation as to what my wife was trying to pull by using two identities. My wife explained that Galina and Halina are the same name, but to no avail. The officious interviewer refused to listen and likewise did not offer to process the N400 with a name change, but merely informed my wife that the application would be processed as Galina or she could leave right now. As a result, I am going to have to change her name to Halina through the local court process - or change every other document in our lives.

The interviewer also repeatedly asked my wife if her parents, who have been dead for 30 years, were married, as well as a host of other questions that I, as a lawyer of 35 years experience, have difficulty seeing as relevant after someone has held a green card for seven years. She then went through the laundry list of "Have you ever ..." questions and required my wife to define terms such as "racism," "weapon" and others. Lastly, she required my wife to read the arcanely worded oath of allegiance out loud ("heretofore," "abjure", "potentate") which my wife had not anticipated, and explain her understanding of each sentence; she was then quite critical of my wife's explanation.

In short, don't anticipate the N400 interview necessarily being a simple or casual process. Although we are supposed to be grateful for the anti-terrorism efforts of the quasi-Nazi clowns at Homeland Security, TSA and other agencies that suck up our tax dollars, I believe the reality is captured in the title of a book that was popular about ten years ago: The Death of Common Sense.

Sorry to hear it...My name situation is very similar to that of your wife. I'm myself coming from a former Soviet Ukraine. The name on the passport, Driver's License and Green Card is how they translated it in modern times - not how it was always known. And the USCIS sent me both - receipt letter and the biometric invitation using the other first name (not the one on GC). Mind you, I called them immediately after I got the receipt and asked to correct the first name to avoid name confusion in the future.

Now I'm worried....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although my Belarusian wife's application for naturalization was approved, the interview in Phoenix was exceedingly unpleasant and not at all what we had prepared for. My wife's name is Galina and she has had her green card since 2008. During the Soviet era, some official altered Galina to Halina (H is pronounced as G in Russian). Her Belarusian passport says Halina, her green card says Halina, her marriage certificate says Halina, her state ID says Halina, her Social Security card says Halina, and every other document says Halina. The only document that says Galina is the apostile (English translation) of her birth certificate. My wife is an extremely pleasant and open 60-year-old housewife.

The interview began with an unanticipated KGB-style interrogation as to what my wife was trying to pull by using two identities. My wife explained that Galina and Halina are the same name, but to no avail. The officious interviewer refused to listen and likewise did not offer to process the N400 with a name change, but merely informed my wife that the application would be processed as Galina or she could leave right now. As a result, I am going to have to change her name to Halina through the local court process - or change every other document in our lives.

The interviewer also repeatedly asked my wife if her parents, who have been dead for 30 years, were married, as well as a host of other questions that I, as a lawyer of 35 years experience, have difficulty seeing as relevant after someone has held a green card for seven years. She then went through the laundry list of "Have you ever ..." questions and required my wife to define terms such as "racism," "weapon" and others. Lastly, she required my wife to read the arcanely worded oath of allegiance out loud ("heretofore," "abjure", "potentate") which my wife had not anticipated, and explain her understanding of each sentence; she was then quite critical of my wife's explanation.

In short, don't anticipate the N400 interview necessarily being a simple or casual process. Although we are supposed to be grateful for the anti-terrorism efforts of the quasi-Nazi clowns at Homeland Security, TSA and other agencies that suck up our tax dollars, I believe the reality is captured in the title of a book that was popular about ten years ago: The Death of Common Sense.

Name discrepancies such as your wife's are very common with immigrants, especially with those from countries with non-Latin alphabets. Just think of how many opportunities for discrepancies someone from a country like Egypt might have. If your name is Mohamed Hassan Ali Abdul-Hamid on your passport, it may have said Mohammad Hasan Aly Abd-el-Hamid on your birth certificate!

USCIS deals with these issues all the time. The USCIS guidelines to their employees state that the birth certificate is the the ultimate decider when it comes to name discrepancies unless there is a legal name change document or a marriage certificate that would supersede the birth certificate. That's it; it's very clear.

Your wife's name on her birth certificate should have been her legal name as far as the interviewer was concerned. If your wife wanted to change her name, a legal name change should have been allowed.*

Your wife got an unpleasant, unprofessional, and ignorant interviewer. I hope she gets approved soon. Others should be prepared for this possibility (thanks for posting your experience), but hopefully most of us will get more reasonable interviewers.

* Special case: some USCIS field offices do not offer Judicial Ceremonies at all. In these areas, you will not be allowed to do a name change as part of the N400 (they will cross out the name change part of the application during the interview). This is because only a court has the legal authority to change someone's name. As far as I know, San Francisco and San Jose are the only offices that are in this category, but there could be more.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Name discrepancies such as your wife's are very common with immigrants, especially with those from countries with non-Latin alphabets. Just think of how many opportunities for discrepancies someone from a country like Egypt might have. If your name is Mohamed Hassan Ali Abdul-Hamid on your passport, it may have said Mohammad Hasan Aly Abd-el-Hamid on your birth certificate!

USCIS deals with these issues all the time. The USCIS guidelines to their employees state that the birth certificate is the the ultimate decider when it comes to name discrepancies unless there is a legal name change document or a marriage certificate that would supersede the birth certificate. That's it; it's very clear.

Your wife's name on her birth certificate should have been her legal name as far as the interviewer was concerned. If your wife wanted to change her name, a legal name change should have been allowed.*

Your wife got an unpleasant, unprofessional, and ignorant interviewer. I hope she gets approved soon. Others should be prepared for this possibility (thanks for posting your experience), but hopefully most of us will get more reasonable interviewers.

* Special case: some USCIS field offices do not offer Judicial Ceremonies at all. In these areas, you will not be allowed to do a name change as part of the N400 (they will cross out the name change part of the application during the interview). This is because only a court has the legal authority to change someone's name. As far as I know, San Francisco and San Jose are the only offices that are in this category, but there could be more.

JimmyHou,

Thanks for posting it! Do you know by any chance where to find out which offices do not allow a name change?

Would USCIS know it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

USCIS deals with these issues all the time. The USCIS guidelines to their employees state that the birth certificate is the the ultimate decider when it comes to name discrepancies unless there is a legal name change document or a marriage certificate that would supersede the birth certificate. That's it; it's very clear.

The flaw in your logic is: USCIS had processed, with extensive background investigation and all the same supporting documents, my wife's K-1 visa application. USCIS had processed, with extensive background investigation and all the same supporting documents, my wife's green card application. In fact, the apostile that caused the problem was precisely the same one attached to the visa and green card applications. Moreover, the Halina-Galina issue had been discussed - by me - at the green card interview with absolutely no problem. So your statement "That's it; it's very clear" is simply not true. The Death of Common Sense is closer to the reality.

Edited by LBP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The flaw in your logic is: USCIS had processed, with extensive background investigation and all the same supporting documents, my wife's K-1 visa application. USCIS had processed, with extensive background investigation and all the same supporting documents, my wife's green card application. In fact, the apostile that caused the problem was precisely the same one attached to the visa and green card applications. Moreover, the Halina-Galina issue had been discussed - by me - at the green card interview with absolutely no problem. So your statement "That's it; it's very clear" is simply not true. The Death of Common Sense is closer to the reality.

I'm sorry, I don't see a flaw in logic.

Your interviewer did not follow the guidelines set out by USCIS to adjudicate naturalization applications.

The guidelines for adjudicating other immigration applications are different; for example, there is no requirement that the name on your green card match the name on your birth certificate. There is, however, a requirement that your legal name for naturalization purposes must be that on your birth certificate unless otherwise legally changed. So unfortunately, a smooth process for earlier immigration stages does not necessarily imply a smooth naturalization process, even with regard to the same issue. As far as the name and birth certificate issue, that is a very clear requirement for naturalization, so my statement was true. Your interviewer either ignored that requirement or was unaware of it.

I completely agree that the process does not make sense, but even within the bounds of an illogical process, your interviewer didn't follow the rules.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JimmyHou,

Thanks for posting it! Do you know by any chance where to find out which offices do not allow a name change?

Would USCIS know it?

I don't want to hijack the OP's very helpful thread, but I'll answer your question, because it's pretty easy.

Find your field office here:

http://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-uscis-office/field-offices

Under Naturalization Ceremonies, if it says that they hold Judicial Ceremonies, then you can request a name change. If it says they only hold Administrative Ceremonies, then you can't request a name change. In either case, you can go to court and change your name after naturalization, but it won't be free of charge.

Examples:

San Jose (no judicial ceremonies, therefore no name change):

"The San Jose Field Office conducts Administrative Ceremonies approximately 2-3 times per month. This office does not conduct same-day naturalization ceremonies"

Los Angeles (judicial ceremonies available, therefore name change possible):

The Los Angeles Field Office conducts Judicial Ceremonies twice per month. This office does not conduct same-day naturalization ceremonies."


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, I don't see a flaw in logic.

Your interviewer did not follow the guidelines set out by USCIS to adjudicate naturalization applications.

The guidelines for adjudicating other immigration applications are different; for example, there is no requirement that the name on your green card match the name on your birth certificate. There is, however, a requirement that your legal name for naturalization purposes must be that on your birth certificate unless otherwise legally changed. So unfortunately, a smooth process for earlier immigration stages does not necessarily imply a smooth naturalization process, even with regard to the same issue. As far as the name and birth certificate issue, that is a very clear requirement for naturalization, so my statement was true. Your interviewer either ignored that requirement or was unaware of it.

I completely agree that the process does not make sense, but even within the bounds of an illogical process, your interviewer didn't follow the rules.

Perhaps you are confused. If the USCIS guidelines were that the birth certificate is the absolutely controlling document for naturalization, then the interviewer followed the guidelines to the letter. My wife's birth certificate says Galina, while her Belarusian passport, K-1 Visa and Green Card all say Halina.

It would make zero sense for the USCIS to have more relaxed guidelines for permanent residents (or even for visas) than for naturalization - hey, we're not worried about potential terrorists who are here with visas or Green Cards, only those who want to be naturalized. That would indeed be rather a massive flaw in logic. In fact, the guidelines suggest the standards are the same. For a Green Card, the birth certificate is the controlling document unless there is compelling secondary evidence of the adoption of a different name at an early age.

Yet the difference between my wife's birth certificate name and the name in which her applications were submitted was never a problem at the K-1 Visa or Green Card stage. We submitted no "compelling secondary evidence" whatsoever.

It is somewhat frightening that this issue would surface only after a Green Card had been issued, the holder had been in the U.S. for seven years, and the naturalization interview was underway. Given the highly suspicious attitude of the interviewer, I have no doubt that if my wife had been a 30-year-old Muslim and exactly the same problem had arisen during the interview, her green card would have been confiscated and she would have been escorted from the facility for some serious questioning by an immigration official. Clearly, this was the point of the interviewer smilingly but repeatedly asking my unsophisticated wife if she had ever voted for President or a Senator - if she had admitted to this crime, God knows what would have transpired.

What I believe has actually taken place is that, since a name snafu was largely responsible for the Boston Marathon bombers being able to carry out their terror, there is heightened awareness and scrutiny of any and all name discrepancies at USCIS. My wife's pre-Boston K-1 and Green Card sailed through because of the bureaucratic incompetency that we all know, love and have come to expect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you are confused. If the USCIS guidelines were that the birth certificate is the absolutely controlling document for naturalization, then the interviewer followed the guidelines to the letter. My wife's birth certificate says Galina, while her Belarusian passport, K-1 Visa and Green Card all say Halina.

No, sir... if the interviewer had followed the instructions to the letter, she would have told your wife that her legal name is Galina according to USCIS guidelines and that all she had to do was sign a name change form to change it to Halina. Your wife should have been able to choose which of the two she wanted and that would have been the end of the issue. The interviewer made a big deal of the whole thing for no reason that I can understand. She enforced the birth certificate part of the rule but ignored the applicants right to do a name change which would have taken about 2 minutes (you have to sign three pieces of paper).

It would make zero sense for the USCIS to have more relaxed guidelines for permanent residents (or even for visas) than for naturalization - hey, we're not worried about potential terrorists who are here with visas or Green Cards, only those who want to be naturalized. That would indeed be rather a massive flaw in logic. In fact, the guidelines suggest the standards are the same. For a Green Card, the birth certificate is the controlling document unless there is compelling secondary evidence of the adoption of a different name at an early age.

I agree that this is illogical. I could be wrong about this, but when I applied for my green card, I was specifically told that the passport was the controlling document. USCIS had copies of my passport and my birth certificate and chose to issue the green card in the name on the passport.

If you're arguing that the process is flawed, I agree with you.

But I'll say again that your wife's interviewer, for whatever reason (perhaps the reasons you outlined) was not following the rules and was being difficult either through ignorance or animosity.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more thing, and sorry if I missed it in your recap: did your wife list both spellings in the "other names used" section of the N400?

The remaining tone of the interview seems to have been rather negative from what you have shared... I hope the issue is resolved quickly.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many people who, for one reason or another, do not have nor can produce a birth certificate. So if one such person has different names on different identity documents, which document is the arbiter?

To the OP, that was an insane interview for anyone, no matter their age or level of sophistication. I once endured a similarly hostile interview during secondary inspection at IAH airport in Houston and I asked to speak to a supervisor.

The interviewer was certainly having a bad day. I cannot see how they can justify such attitude if a complaint was made against them.

I'm sorry, I don't see a flaw in logic.

Your interviewer did not follow the guidelines set out by USCIS to adjudicate naturalization applications.

The guidelines for adjudicating other immigration applications are different; for example, there is no requirement that the name on your green card match the name on your birth certificate. There is, however, a requirement that your legal name for naturalization purposes must be that on your birth certificate unless otherwise legally changed. So unfortunately, a smooth process for earlier immigration stages does not necessarily imply a smooth naturalization process, even with regard to the same issue. As far as the name and birth certificate issue, that is a very clear requirement for naturalization, so my statement was true. Your interviewer either ignored that requirement or was unaware of it.

I completely agree that the process does not make sense, but even within the bounds of an illogical process, your interviewer didn't follow the rules.

Edited by Dario2012

Feel. The. Bern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terribly sorry to hear this. We can't offer any solid advice, but We can stand in the background and offer moral support and prayers.


MEETING

12 March 2012: Met Dyn at a coffee shop in Kuwait

Summer 2012: I returned home to the U.S. to prepare a way for Dyn

Fall 2014: Dyn returns home to Philippines after seven years in Kuwait

ANNULMENT

February 2014: Engaged while I visited Philippines

March 2014: Officially hired attorney and filed for Dyn's annulment in Bohol, Philippines

December 2015: Bohol District Court issues decision in our favor

December 2015: Judge sends transcript of his decision to OSG for processing

February 05 2016: OSG returned receipt and approval to district court in Bohol. CoF to be issued end of second week in February

February 09 2016: Dyn is presented with the Entry of Judgment and her Certificate of Finality via the local court.

February 15 2016: LCR issues annotated marriage certificate, and necessary documents are forwarded to the NSO / PSA visa LBC

April 19 2016: Received CENOMAR and Annotated MC from PSA via private courier. DONE! COMPLETE! FINISHED! OFFICIAL!

I-129F / K1 VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

April 04 2016: I-129F sent to Texas Lockbox via USPS Priority Mail

April 12 2016: Email from USCIS acceptance confirmation

April 17 2016: Official NOA1 hard copy received

July 12 2016: NOA2 Approval hard copy received

July 14 2016: Post Decision Activity email from USCIS

THE LONG WAIT (USCIS misplaced approved petition)

September 16 2016: NVC received approved I-129F petition and assigns case number

INTERVIEW / MEDICAL PROCESS

October 04 2016: Day 1 of medical at SLEC in Manila

October 05 2016: Psychiatric evaluation off-site due to psychological incapacity annulment (10 hour eval with 800 question profile test)

October 13 2016: CFO Seminar completed successfully and certificate awarded (CFO stamp not issued until visa is presented).

October 20 2016: Return to SLEC complete psychological evaluation with resident psychologist (less than ten minutes)

October 21 2016: Vaccination day at SLEC (medical finally complete)

October 25 2016: Visa interview at USEM in Manila (APPROVED)

HOMECOMING

November 19 2016: Dyn's arrival at POE Dulles IAD in Washington DC

December 01 2016: Married

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A formal complaint to the District Director may well be in order. Some employees (federal government in particular) seem to believe they are untouchable due to Uncle Sam signing their paychecks, and it is vital that they understand how wrong this misapprehension is.


Widow/er AoS Guide | Have AoS questions? Read (some) answers here

 

AoS

Day 0 (4/23/12) Petitions mailed (I-360, I-485, I-765)
2 (4/25/12) Petitions delivered to Chicago Lockbox
11 (5/3/12) Received 3 paper NOAs
13 (5/5/12) Received biometrics appointment for 5/23
15 (5/7/12) Did an unpleasant walk-in biometrics in Fort Worth, TX
45 (6/7/12) Received email & text notification of an interview on 7/10
67 (6/29/12) EAD production ordered
77 (7/9/12) Received EAD
78 (7/10/12) Interview
100 (8/1/12) I-485 transferred to Vermont Service Centre
143 (9/13/12) Contacted DHS Ombudsman
268 (1/16/13) I-360, I-485 consolidated and transferred to Dallas
299 (2/16/13) Received second interview letter for 3/8
319 (3/8/13) Approved at interview
345 (4/3/13) I-360, I-485 formally approved; green card production ordered
353 (4/11/13) Received green card

 

Naturalisation

Day 0 (1/3/18) N-400 filed online

Day 6 (1/9/18) Walk-in biometrics in Fort Worth, TX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A formal complaint to the District Director may well be in order. Some employees (federal government in particular) seem to believe they are untouchable due to Uncle Sam signing their paychecks, and it is vital that they understand how wrong this misapprehension is.

I will share a technique that worked well with my wife's K-1 application and that I am employing here: When her K-1 application appeared to be lost, I was able, through guesswork and online investigation, to determine the email address of the director of USCIS himself and the direct telephone line of the director of the Vermont Service Center. This information is guarded like Fort Knox, but you can determine it or at least make a reasonable guesstimate if you are crafty. It is often hidden in sources you wouldn't expect. I actually sent my initial email to five different likely addresses for the director of USCIS; one of them went through. Both directors were EXTREMELY surprised to hear from an Arizona attorney, but both were perfectly pleasant. The director of USCIS put me in touch with one of his direct assistants, who looked into the matter and exchanged about five emails with me.

Today, using the initials and last name of the Interview Officer, I was able to determine her full name because some former employee had used her as a job reference on an online resume. I was then able to determine the email format for employees at the local USCIS office from some online bid documents (they are selling some old computers). Putting two and two together, I determined her email address and sent her a polite but firm request on my law firm's letterhead to resolve the name problem without further inconvenience to me or my wife. We'll see what happens.

As a friend pointed out to me, this is a technique best reserved for serious problems. I am probably now on multiple Homeland Security watch lists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
×