Here's my full run-down of how it went (Nashville).
Documents I brought: All passports covering my time in the USCIS process, drivers licenses (US and UK), SSN cards, birth certificate, marriage certificate showing name change, old marriage and divorce certificate, copy of I-751 paperwork, 4 years tax returns, copy of application, all USCIS-issued letters, pen, little flag.
My interview was at 11:25am CST so we arrived at the parking lot at like 11am and I headed in (breaking the 15 mins covid rule, but they let me in early anyway). When I got in they asked me to read the covid rules and agree to them, then go through a scan (removing shoes and things from pockets - phones are allowed but must be on silent). Upon entering the ‘bullpen’ I was asked to walk to a booth and check, in then told to take a seat and wait for my number to be called. I think I was called around 11:40am.
We walk down the hall and into the room, he asks me to stay standing while I swore in, and then allowed me to sit. So far, very formal and not chatty. I think at this point he asks me to confirm basic details and for ID, and then tells me we’re going to do the civics test. He starts clicking around and mumbling, so I offered sympathies for the computer misbehaving and that seemed to melt the ice. Then we started the test:
What is the supreme law of the land?
How many amendments does the Constitution have?
Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
We elect a President for how many years?
What did Susan B. Anthony do?
What is the name of the national anthem?
I got all 6 right so he didn’t need to ask any others, and moved on to the spoken and written part. I think it was something like “Washington was the first president”, I had to say it and then write it on a tablet (which is surprisingly hard to do with clammy hands!)
Then, we looked at my application. There were some things to clear up, even though I was petitioning through the 5 year rule, they still had to check on a couple of marriage-based things, you see, I knew my (now) husband when I was married to my first husband - we were all friends and met at the same time. Their names are both on documents together (we lived together in a shared house for a time), so he needed me to clarify that marriage 1 ended on its own terms and marriage 2 started on its own terms - apparently adultery is classified as an offense of ‘good moral character’. I confirmed that no, there was no adultery. Then, I accidentally gave him the wrong marriage certificate (marriage 1) to prove my name change, which caused a lot more confusion. Finally, we got the timeline and correct paperwork drilled down, and moved on to the rest of the form. He checked over my answers, and confirmed that it was good that I explained things like speeding tickets and my involvement with the girl guides, as it showed that I was trying hard to be as honest as possible. Then, he asked me ALL the YES/NO questions from the form again, which was an exercise of seeing how many different ways I could say a single syllable word. Guess I’ll never lose that British awkwardness.
Once the form was done, he was fumbling around on his computer and gave me a printout saying “Congratulations! We are recommending that you pass” or something to that effect. I was quite excited at this point, then he started glaring at his computer and having more technical issues, so I asked him “while we have a moment, may I ask you a question?” and he said sure, so I asked “are there same day oaths happening here right now?” and I saw the wind go out of his sails - turns out he was trying to print out the paperwork for the same day oath so he could surprise me (I’d already said I was hoping to have a July 4th as a citizen). That’s when I lost all professionalism and started squealing with excitement. He took my greencard from me and stamped it and filed it away - guess I don’t need that anymore. We stood up, he sternly had me repeat the Pledge of Allegiance in small sections, and then his icy expression broke and in a slightly excited and higher pitched voice he said “Congratulations, you are now a US Citizen!”. Cue lump in my throat and wobbly bottom lip!
He had me grab my paperwork and things and walk down a hall, where he explained that I would need a US passport for any travel from this point onwards. Then he showed me into an oath ceremony room where he told me to wait to receive my certificate. About 10 mins later a lady came and handed us our certs (rather casually), and told us congratulations and we were free to go! I walked out through the waiting room, out into the car park, to a waiting husband who had been terrified about how long it was taking. He soon cheered up when I showed him the pass letter, and then the certificate of naturalization.
In summary, it wasn’t without its stressful moments - I would rather have not talked about my first marriage at all, especially as I was applying based on the 5 year rule and he’s been out of my life since my divorce in 2013, but I guess they have to clear up whatever they need to. The officer seemed very sympathetic to my stress, even reassuring me that he would avoid any questioning about it that wasn’t essential. The officer was very friendly, chatty, made me laugh several times, so that was good. I did get a slight “Columbo” sense from him, that maybe some of the chatter was orchestrated to lull me into confessing something incriminating, but honestly I don’t blame him. As with most international relationships/visa journeys, ours was surrounded by unusual circumstances, and it is their job to make sure everything meets criteria.
8/10, will hopefully never see this office again!