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oceana15

N-400 and I-751 combo interview experience

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Hello everyone! Just wanted to share my experience with my combo N-400/I-751 interview, which took place on August 14 in Springfield, MA. I will include all the details to help those with similar cases to mine.

 

First of all, my I-751 had been pending since May 2018, so I went ahead and filed for naturalization in mid-May 2019. My N-400 biometrics and interview scheduling went VERY fast (basically 3 months). My I-751 did not move at all until it was "transferred to my local office" two weeks after I filed the N-400. I knew that I would have a combo interview because I received an email from USCIS letting me know about this, stating that the officer would "adjudicate both cases together."

 

My husband and I went to our interview on August 14 and got there about 15 minutes early. An officer came out and took my appointment notice. About 20 minutes later, the same officer came out and said he would interview my husband alone to "knock out the I-751" (those were the officers' actual words). This freaked us out because we did NOT expect to be interviewed separately! I had never heard of that happening, other than the dreaded Stokes interview. This was NOT a Stokes interview. It was just a regular I-751 interview, but only my husband (US citizen by birth) was called in.

 

The officer interviewed my husband alone for 15 minutes. Then he came to get me and interviewed me alone for the N-400. He started by going through my files and evidence, since I filed under the 3-year rule. He asked for my passports (all of them), green card, and driver's license. Here are the questions he asked me about my marriage -- I will explain why I think he asked some of these questions.

 

1. Why did you file taxes separately in 2018? (My husband has IRS debt so we've kept our finances separate. We eventually want to buy a house so we need at least one of us to have great credit... that's me. He seemed ok with this answer.)

2. Do you know your husband's ex-wife? (My husband was married once before.)

3. When does your husband see his daughter? When was the last time she stayed at your house? When is the next time she will be visiting? (I have a stepdaughter who stays with us once a month.)

4. What is your husband's work schedule?

5. What's the last trip you took together?

6. Did you live together before getting married? Where?

 

NOTE: I will pause here to say that, once everything was done, my husband and I compared the questions the officer asked us separately and they were all the same questions. We gave the same answers.

 

After asking me those questions, the officer asked me for new evidence -- anything with both of our names on it. I brought a LOT of new stuff because I suspected that the separate taxes might be an issue. For example, I brought my husband's 401K form listing me as his beneficiary, joint utility bills, joint car insurance, bank statements showing transfers between us, and photos & receipts from our last trip together. The officer looked through these and then returned them to me without making any copies. He said, "all of this looks good."

 

Then, he did the civics & English test. He asked me:

 

1. What's one Native American tribe?

2. What's the ocean on the West coast?

3. Who was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers?

4. When must men register for the selective service?

5. When do we vote for President?

And one more but I can't remember it!!

 

I got all the questions right so he did the English test (reading "Who elects Congress?" and writing "The people elect Congress.") Then, he went through the entire N-400 application question by question. By this point, he started laughing and joking a bit so I felt better. I was still a bit nervous that the separate finances thing would be a problem. Once we finished going through the application, I signed that I agreed to the oath (willing to bear arms for the US, etc) and confirmed that everything was correct on the application. Finally, he said everything looked good and he would recommend my application for approval. He gave me the interview form but checked "A decision cannot be made at this time." He explained that he had to approve the I-751 first and it sometimes takes 24 hours in the system, which is why he checked that box instead of the approval one.

 

Walking out of the interview, I was so nervous about "A decision cannot be made"! But I checked the USCIS website later that day (about 5-6 hours later) and my N-400 had changed to "We approved your application. You are in line for an oath ceremony." My I-751 did not change -- it still said "transferred to your local office." But today, August 16 (two days after the interview), my I-751 changed to "Your case was approved." So now it is OFFICIAL! I'm so relieved and I realize now that the officer was just doing his job -- he wasn't trying to be harsh or anything. 

 

I'm waiting for my oath to be scheduled and to get a letter about that in the mail. If you're still on this journey, hang in there!! If your marriage is real and you're telling the truth, you will be APPROVED. If you suspect that something in your file might be seen as a red flag (like my separate taxes), make sure to bring lots of evidence to compensate for that. Good luck!!!

 


2016 AOS from F1
3/21: package received by USCIS

3/29: email/text NOAs

4/1: hard copy NOAs

4/8: bio appointment letter

4/18: biometrics completed

5/11: status update, "ready to be scheduled for interview"

6/3: submitted service request for EAD
6/18: submitted online change of address (AR-11)

6/20: service request response, "your case is currently under review"

6/21: interview scheduled for July 26 (online update)

6/23: hard copy interview notice

6/24: EAD/AP approved, "new card ordered"
6/28: EAD mailed to me
6/30: EAD/AP card delivered
7/26: interview APPROVED!
7/26: new card ordered

7/28: card mailed

8/1: permanent resident card received in mailbox! : )

ROC window opens: 4/26/2018

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29 minutes ago, p-ana said:

I followed your aos and was wondering what you were up to with roc and n400!

My roc was just approved this week and I’m wondering if i should apply for the n400 now.

 

thanks for the update and congrats!!

So u had a stokes interview.Congratulations

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2 hours ago, p-ana said:

I followed your aos and was wondering what you were up to with roc and n400!

My roc was just approved this week and I’m wondering if i should apply for the n400 now.

 

thanks for the update and congrats!!

Oh yay! Thank you and yes, I think you should go ahead and apply. In my case, it sped everything up!


2016 AOS from F1
3/21: package received by USCIS

3/29: email/text NOAs

4/1: hard copy NOAs

4/8: bio appointment letter

4/18: biometrics completed

5/11: status update, "ready to be scheduled for interview"

6/3: submitted service request for EAD
6/18: submitted online change of address (AR-11)

6/20: service request response, "your case is currently under review"

6/21: interview scheduled for July 26 (online update)

6/23: hard copy interview notice

6/24: EAD/AP approved, "new card ordered"
6/28: EAD mailed to me
6/30: EAD/AP card delivered
7/26: interview APPROVED!
7/26: new card ordered

7/28: card mailed

8/1: permanent resident card received in mailbox! : )

ROC window opens: 4/26/2018

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