I had my N-400 interview on July 17th at the Omaha Field Office.
Sharing my experience here.
Interview was at 11:20 am and we arrived at 11am. We waited about 15 to 20 mins before an IO called out my name and asked me to follow him to the interview room. As my husband made to follow us into the room, the IO officer asked him to wait outside.
We were both taken aback because we'd always had interviews together. In my anxiousness about the interview, I had myself forgotten and also forgotten to mention to my husband that it'll be a solo interview. It was momentary. We kissed and he wished me luck as I went in to room. He sat down in a giant waiting room all by himself.
The IO had a very calming presence that helped a bit with my anxiety.
He swore me in and we started with the English reading test where he asked me to read aloud the the sentence shown on the tablet.
'Who was Abraham Lincoln?'
For the English writing test, he asked me write the following,
'Lincoln was the president during the Civil War.'
We went on to the civics test where he asked me 6 questions that I answered correctly.
For some reason I can only recall one of questions asked,
- Who is the commander in chief of the U.S. military?
He went to ask a few questions from my application to verify that they are still current and also asked where I met my husband.
He then informed me that my application is approved and he was trying to schedule my oath ceremony.
He then went on to ask if we had to be anywhere after the interview. As I had cleared the whole day for interview, I said no. He then went on to ask if I would like to attend the oath ceremony that very same day! He continued to explain that the cut off was at 11:45 am that's why he was rushing. (I honestly didn't feel like he was rushing at all, it was calm pace)
Of course, I said yes! So, here we were basically going to be done with USCIS forever.
After confirming everything he provided a letter confirming the approval and also an oath ceremony letter.
The ceremony was to be held at the field office at 2pm. The IO asked us to be back by 1:45 pm to get checked in on time. He asked me to fill out the form on the back of the ceremony letter before coming in.
He asked if I had any questions for him. As I had learnt that we would be able to apply for a passport at the oath ceremony and we'd have to submit the original Certificate of Naturalization to do so. I asked him how long until I'd get my certificate back if I did choose to do so. I continued to explain that my driver's license was expiring at the end of August and would prefer to renew and update my status as a citizen at same time.
He offered to provide me with certified copies of my Certificate of Naturalization after the ceremony to be sent with the passport application. I graciously accepted the offer.
The IO opened the door and I don't know what look I had on my face, but my husband had to ask the IO, 'Did she pass?' 🤣 After a humourous conversation with the IO, with him saying 'you never have to give us any money anymore', my husband and I left to grab a quick lunch.
During lunch, I finally had a chance to read the notice letter in full and started freaking out as my outfit was not up to the dress code for the ceremony. My husband assured me that since I only found out about the ceremony that morning, they should be ok with it.
We returned to the field office by 1:30pm. We waited in the same waiting room as earlier in the morning but it was almost full this time around. I sat next to a person wearing slippers. My dress code was fine 😅
When it got close to 1:45pm, officers went around the room asking applicants for their PR card and Oath ceremony letter. They checked the name on the card and letter, I think. They asked us to have it in our hands as they will need it to check us in for the ceremony. After a few moments, one of the officers pointed out a banner next to the U.S. flag and a picture of the Statue of Liberty and told us we could take pictures there after the ceremony.
Few minutes later, they asked us all to line up. I was second in line. They took our naturalization notice letter and our Permanent Resident card, checked us in and gave us a number token corresponding to the number against our name on the list. I was the last number on the list. I'm guessing it was numbered as people were signed up for the ceremony. As I was snuck in at the 11th hour, I was the last on the list. No complaints, was just happy to be on it 😁
They proceeded to tell us that we would now be moving to the ceremony hall and that our family will be joining us later. The number token had another role to play. We were to sit on the chair with the same number in the hall. Each chair had a packet with helpful materials.
Once in the hall, they started providing tips and instructions for what to do after we receive the Certificate of Naturalization. Tips included not to pose for or post pictures (on social media) of the certificate with sensitive information on display. Instructions were about how to apply for passport and register to vote, and a reminder to update our status at the Social Security office.
Family and friends were ushered in shortly.
They showed a video message for new citizens from the president, showed a song video about being American citizen. Played a video with the national anthem during which everyone was asked to stand up. They showed a video with the words from the Oath of Allegiance and we could read off of altogether. Being a short person and in the last row in the room with tall people in front of me, it was a bit difficult to read from the projector, but I managed. 😅
After that, they proceeded to call our names down the same numbered list as earlier to hand out the certificates.
As I was gathering up my stuff to start to leave, my interviewing IO came up to me and gave me a few certified copies of my Certificate of Naturalization. I had completely forgotten about it, thankfully, the IO didn't. 😁
We took a few pictures on the inside next to the flag the officers had pointed out earlier and a few on the outside of the office.
After an eventful day, we were officially done with our path to citizenship.
Thank you to the members here who provided words of guidance, comfort and solidarity. I couldn't have done it on my own without this community.
I already renewed my license with updated status. I still need to apply for passport and visit SSA.
If I need help with them, I know where to look for answers.