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OnceaTexan

New York Federal Plaza Interview Experience

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I wanted to share my experience on this forum.

It's been a month since my interview (marriage based) which according to my lawyer was supposed to be smooth and with no headaches. The problem is on the interview day my file was simply passed around from one officer to another (as a commodity or favor) and so after about an hour and a half of waiting I ended up interviewing with an officer who had no desire to even review my file. I witnessed how my file was simply dumped in her hands and she wasn't too pleased. We had submitted a lot of documentation pertaining to our marriage for the last 3+ years but she didn't want to open the file once (except for the birth certificate) and found it too difficult to look through the file we organized and tabulated accordingly. In the same time she basically asked for the same documents for a third time (they were also submitted with I751 and were in the N400) or was very specific in what she wanted (e.g. joint checking statement July 2013...she didn't like the fact I had submitted or had with me a joint savings statement from June 2013 and a joint checking from August 2013...she said it made no sense to her why I have two different accounts with my wife...yes this is the kind of person I dealt with).

In the end the officer was very unprofessional, impatient, straight rude all under the mask that she is doing me a favor by asking for so and so specific documents (that I did manage to produce finally). Also for one traffic ticket ($50 and 2 DL points) for which I answered Yes if I was ever arrested, detained or cited...she also made me change my answers to Yes when it came to the questions 24 and 25 (if I was ever convicted of a crime, or if I was charged with committing, attempting to commit a crime or offense). Most of the lawyers I talked with (including the one we hired and was there) didn't think changing the answer to Yes was necessary. At least I had a FOIA letter from the Albany DMV office that showed the ticket was paid and closed ( I suggest anyone with traffic tickets to get such letters- bank statements showing you paid the ticket, or receipts + driving record are not enough).

At the very end I got a letter that said I passed the civics and English test with Congratulations box marked. When my lawyer asked her when can we receive a final decision she looked straight at us and said that as we could tell she did not review the file and the law gives her 120 days to review the file. So I started to think because my file was an inconvenience for her that morning she may choose to sit on it for as long as possible. Also what I think filled her glass was the fact I stopped her on the hallway and asked her kindly to check if my name was spelled correctly in the system since she had given me a paper with one of my names misspelled. There was the "you again, what do you want" vibe.

I wrote a letter of complaint the very next day but did not send it yet being afraid of any repercussions. A month later I feel I should send it in. What other options do I have?

So what have I learned if you submit a well documented application and come prepared or over-prepared - then also prepare to wait or leave confused and a bit dehumanized. The only reason I went with a lawyer that day was for some extra peace of mind since I'm the kind that over-worries a lot. If you are a very honest and over-worrying person I suggest you go in there with head held high because some of these people can't wait to make you feel like the lowest of the low. I guess if you want to be an American you have to pass this final challenge.

I wish everyone on this forum a much much better interview experience and have faith anything can get fixed and solved.

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I wanted to share my experience on this forum.

It's been a month since my interview (marriage based) which according to my lawyer was supposed to be smooth and with no headaches. The problem is on the interview day my file was simply passed around from one officer to another (as a commodity or favor) and so after about an hour and a half of waiting I ended up interviewing with an officer who had no desire to even review my file. I witnessed how my file was simply dumped in her hands and she wasn't too pleased. We had submitted a lot of documentation pertaining to our marriage for the last 3+ years but she didn't want to open the file once (except for the birth certificate) and found it too difficult to look through the file we organized and tabulated accordingly. In the same time she basically asked for the same documents for a third time (they were also submitted with I751 and were in the N400) or was very specific in what she wanted (e.g. joint checking statement July 2013...she didn't like the fact I had submitted or had with me a joint savings statement from June 2013 and a joint checking from August 2013...she said it made no sense to her why I have two different accounts with my wife...yes this is the kind of person I dealt with).

In the end the officer was very unprofessional, impatient, straight rude all under the mask that she is doing me a favor by asking for so and so specific documents (that I did manage to produce finally). Also for one traffic ticket ($50 and 2 DL points) for which I answered Yes if I was ever arrested, detained or cited...she also made me change my answers to Yes when it came to the questions 24 and 25 (if I was ever convicted of a crime, or if I was charged with committing, attempting to commit a crime or offense). Most of the lawyers I talked with (including the one we hired and was there) didn't think changing the answer to Yes was necessary. At least I had a FOIA letter from the Albany DMV office that showed the ticket was paid and closed ( I suggest anyone with traffic tickets to get such letters- bank statements showing you paid the ticket, or receipts + driving record are not enough).

At the very end I got a letter that said I passed the civics and English test with Congratulations box marked. When my lawyer asked her when can we receive a final decision she looked straight at us and said that as we could tell she did not review the file and the law gives her 120 days to review the file. So I started to think because my file was an inconvenience for her that morning she may choose to sit on it for as long as possible. Also what I think filled her glass was the fact I stopped her on the hallway and asked her kindly to check if my name was spelled correctly in the system since she had given me a paper with one of my names misspelled. There was the "you again, what do you want" vibe.

I wrote a letter of complaint the very next day but did not send it yet being afraid of any repercussions. A month later I feel I should send it in. What other options do I have?

So what have I learned if you submit a well documented application and come prepared or over-prepared - then also prepare to wait or leave confused and a bit dehumanized. The only reason I went with a lawyer that day was for some extra peace of mind since I'm the kind that over-worries a lot. If you are a very honest and over-worrying person I suggest you go in there with head held high because some of these people can't wait to make you feel like the lowest of the low. I guess if you want to be an American you have to pass this final challenge.

I wish everyone on this forum a much much better interview experience and have faith anything can get fixed and solved.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It's very helpful. I think the majority of applicants have an easier time than you did and it's unfortunate that you had such a hard time. I hope you can put the whole process behind you soon. Best of luck and if it does take 120 days, make sure you keep the pressure up on them!


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

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