I had my interview yesterday (February 19) at the Newark office. Here's my review:
My interview time was 10:00 a.m. There is plenty of paid parking the area. I parked in a lot just south of the Prudential Center and paid $15.00 for a 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. stay. Arrived at the building at 9:15 a.m. I entered through the Walnut Street entrance. There was a lineup outside both doors on this side of the building. The line moved quickly and I was in the building within 5 minutes. Security is similar to airport screening (large purses, knapsacks etc are allowed) everything gets screened.
Elevators were straight ahead and I went up to the 15th floor as indicated on the interview letter. There is a security guard stationed just off from the elevators. He checked my letter and picture ID. The interview area/room is straight ahead. There was a short line facing a bank of windows. I was called up to a window where I handed in my interview letter and green card. The agent took the letter and attached it to a file folder which I assumed was my file. She then took my picture (eyeglasses removed) and did biometrics and returned my green card. I was then instructed to sit down and wait for my name to be called. It was only 9:30 a.m. by this point. The room was almost completely full, however, at 9:40 a.m. a large group were called out for the first oath ceremony of the day. (Newark office does same day oath ceremonies.)
At 10: a.m. my name was called to door 1. There were 3 doors that I could see marked. When they call your name go the door and if the agent isn't already there just wait because the doors are locked from the inside. The interviewer was waiting for me at the door. Through the door is a hallway with multiple offices. The interviewer I had was a very pleasant man; he put me at ease right away.
I was asked for my passport, green card and drivers license. I was asked to raise my right and and swear to tell the truth. He did the testing first. Questions were:
1. When is the last day you can send in federal tax forms?
2. Who makes federal laws?
3. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
4. What is the capital of the United States?
5. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.
6. What is the supreme law of the land?
As he was asking the questions and I was answering he was typing into his computer.
I then wrote a sentence using my fingertip (Who do we pay taxes to?) on an iPad sized screen mounted on his desk in front of me. I then read the answer (We pay taxes to the Untied States government.)
He then said passed the test and he moved on to my application. He confirmed some personal information (name, address, employment, marital status, when I became a permanent resident, number of children.) He did not ask to see any original marriage certificates, divorce certificates.
He noted that my travel outside of the US was primarily to Canada. I gave him a typed list of additional trips I had made since my application was filed. He asked to keep the sheet. (I had typed up all of my trips since applying on the appropriate page of the N400 application and brought it with me. )
He asked if I owed any taxes. (No) I had federal tax transcripts for the past 5 years but he didn't ask to see them. He asked if I had ever claimed to be a U.S. citizen (No.) He asked if I had ever been arrested (No.) I mentioned that I had two speeding tickets (both under $200.00). I had copies of the tickets and prove of payment but he didn't want to see them.
He asked if I had ever sold drugs, had ever been in the military, had ever belonged to any terrorist groups. Basically a selection of the questions on the N400 application.
He asked each question from 45 - 50 on the application about supporting the Constitution and understanding the Oath of Allegiance.
At various points I had to sign my name on the screen. Again this was just with my finger so it was quite messy but he said it was fine.
He then signed my sheet and said the he was recommending me for the second oath ceremony of the day at 11:30 a.m. The entire process took less than 15 minutes. I waited in the waiting room for the next hour and a half. There is no eating or drinking in the waiting room but there are washrooms just outside the room and a water cooler. There is a cafe on the second floor but I didn't bother to check it out.
At 11:45 a.m. the second ceremony group and family members were called out to go down the hall for the oath ceremony. All new citizens were seated together with family behind. You will receive an envelope with a passport application and some general information and a small American flag. There were two speakers; the first gave general information regarding contacting social security, voting and passport application. We saw a short video and sang the national anthem. Everyone was called up in groups of 10 or so to get the narturalization certificate. Make sure you carefully check all of the information on it. If there are any errors they will fix them for free on that day but if you discover something wrong after it will cost $550 to get it corrected.
The second speaker administer the Oath of Allegiance which made it official. 🎉
There is an opportunity to take photos and ask the agents any questions you might have.
I wanted to apply for a passport on the same day so I had a pre-filled application and photos with me. Make sure you sign your naturalization certificate (with black ink) to make it official. When you exit the building via Walnut Street there is a post office directly across the street that will accept the application; no appointment required. The original naturalization certificate has to be submitted with the application but they will give you a photocopy. They will accept credit cards for the $35.00 processing fee but the actual passport fee (and any expedite fees) are cash or debit only.
I hope this is helpful to anyone that likes to know what to expect. My immigration journey is now complete. Best of luck to everyone still working their way towards citizenship. 🙂 👍