After the Ceremony

New U.S. Citizens take the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the Martin Luther King Junior Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, November 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann), licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

When people take the oath of allegiance, they become new American citizens. We also call this naturalization.

What will you do after you become a citizen in this ceremony? I hope that you will celebrate! 🙂

Most people also do three more things:

  • Update their social security information
  • Get a passport
  • Register to vote

New citizens should update their information with social security. This can open up benefits.

The best way is usually to visit the Social Security Office in person and bring this application, your certificate of citizenship, and another photo ID (drivers license).

In Portland, the office is at 1538 SW Yamhill St.

A US Passport and Passport Card can help new citizens travel around the world. They also show that they are citizens.

The Passport Card can only help you travel to Canada or Mexico. But, it can be helpful to have it in an emergency if you need another way to show you are a citizen.

You can find more information about this application online.

Register to Vote

It is free to register to vote, and it is very fast and simple. In Oregon, you can register to vote at the Secretary of State’s website.

You can use your phone or computer to register to vote, but the election in Oregon uses paper mail. Please remember that registering to vote is only for citizens, and that you should wait until after you become a citizen.

If you are a citizen, you can register to vote here.

The Secretary of State website asks for this information. If you don’t have an Oregon ID card, that is ok, but you may need to fill out a paper registration and send it by mail. You can find paper registration forms at the library, post office, or in your citizenship packet.

Reading: Everything you need to know

Reading: Important Words

We practice a lot of information about civics and the N400. But, the reading test is much easier.

The reading test does not have many difficult words. The reading test usually is a question. You only have to read the question. You don’t have to answer it!

The reading test only has these words:

  • Question words:
    • What
    • When
    • Where
    • Who
    • Why
    • How
  • Actions (Verbs)
    • can
    • come
    • do
    • does
    • elects
    • has
    • have
    • is
    • are
    • was
    • be
    • lives
    • lived
    • meet
    • name
    • pay
    • vote
    • want
  • People and places
    • we
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • George Washington
    • America
    • United States
    • U.S.
  • Holidays
    • Presidents’ Day
    • Memorial Day
    • Flag Day
    • Independence Day
    • Labor Day
    • Columbus Day
    • Thanksgiving
  • Civics information
    • American flag
    • Bill of Rights
    • capital
    • citizen
    • city
    • Congress
    • country
    • Father of our Country
    • government
    • President
    • right
    • senators
    • state
    • states
    • White House
  • Other information
    • colors
    • dollar bill
    • first
    • largest
    • many
    • most
    • north
    • one
    • people
    • second
    • south
  • Grammar words
    • a
    • for
    • here
    • in
    • of
    • on
    • the
    • to

How do I practice?

You can practice by reading English, learning words, and practicing a little bit every day. We always practice reading in class!

You can practice citizenship reading tests with these examples:

You can read more about Oregon news in easy English at ESOL News Oregon, by Tim Krause, a teacher at PCC. You can find a lot of old stories, too!

Each news story has practice with important vocabulary and ideas. Also, look for this symbol 🔊, and you can listen to the news story, too!

Writing: Everything you need to know

Writing is important for US Citizenship

About the writing test

Many people worry about the writing test part of the citizenship interview. But, there is some good news.

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

In the writing test, the officer will say one sentence, and the applicant will write it. The applicant will write it on a computer tablet.

You can ask the officer to repeat the sentence. It’s no problem, really!

The officer will look at the sentence. If the officer can understand it, you will pass.

In the rules for USCIS officers, it explains that these things are not a problem:

  • Spelling mistakes with 1-3 letters
  • Missing short words
  • Writing that is not beautiful, but is clear

You only need to write one sentence to pass the test. If you do not pass the first time, you have 3 chances to pass.

Also, the sentences will only have some specific words:

  • People
    • Adams
    • Lincoln
    • Washington
    • Father of Our Country
    • We
    • American Indians
    • Citizens
    • President
    • Senators
  • Places
    • Alaska
    • California
    • Canada
    • Delaware
    • Mexico
    • New York City
    • United States
    • Washington, D.C.
  • Holidays
    • Presidents’ Day
    • Memorial Day
    • Flag Day
    • Independence Day
    • Labor Day
    • Columbus Day
    • Thanksgiving
  • Months
    • February
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • September
    • October
    • November
  • Verbs (Actions)
    • can
    • come
    • elect
    • have
    • has
    • is
    • was
    • be
    • lives
    • lived
    • meets
    • pay
    • vote
    • want
  • Civics words
    • capital
    • Civil War
    • Congress
    • flag
    • free
    • freedom of speech
    • right
    • state
    • states
    • White House
  • More information
    • blue
    • dollar bill
    • fifty / 50
    • first
    • largest
    • most
    • north
    • one
    • one hundred / 100
    • red
    • second
    • south
    • taxes
    • white

You can practice online, too!

N400 Review: Oath of Citizenship

Vocabulary: YES Questions

Oath of Citizenship

When a legal permanent resident becomes a citizen, they usually take an oath of citizenship. They come to USCIS or the court. They usually wear formal clothes.

Example Naturalization Ceremony, Beaverton in 2015

What do you see in the video? How do the people feel? Why did they want to become citizens?

Some questions on the N-400 ask about the oath of citizenship. The oath has many parts. In this class, we will practice the easy version of the oath.

The real oath is more complicated. You can read the full oath here, if you want to. 🤗

I swear that I will be loyal to the United States before any other country.

This means that your number one loyalty is for the United States. If you love your home country, you can continue to love it.

If you have to choose between the United States and your home country, this means the United States comes first.

I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the U.S.

The Constitution is the form of government of the United States. This means you agree with the supreme law of the land. You agree to follow the laws.

I will defend the U.S. from enemies outside and inside the U.S.

In a time of war, the United States has enemies from other countries. Sometimes there are terrorists or other enemies inside the United States.

I will bear arms, carry a gun or fight, for the United States if asked.

Men age 18 to 26 must register for selective service. If there is a war, the United States may choose some young men to join the military.

If you are not a man age 18 to 26, this part is only an “if.” You can agree with this part, and it does not affect you.

I will do non-combative work for the military if asked.

This is also about the selective service for men 18-26. Some men do not want to fight because of their religion. The government asks those men to help with jobs that do not require fighting.

I will do important work for the country if asked.

This is also about the selective service for men 18-26. Some men cannot help the military because of their religion.

In World War 1 and 2, some men helped do other important work for the country. They helped fight fires. They helped feed hungry people.

I take this oath freely and without any doubts.

The last part of the oath means that you, and only you, really want to become a citizen. Freely means that this is your free choice.

Without any doubts means that you are 100% sure about your decision. It is very difficult to change your mind after you become a citizen.

How do you feel about the oath now?

Review N-400 Questions 1

  1. Do you support the Constitution and form of Government of the United States?
  2. Have you EVER served in the U.S. armed forces?
    Do you understand the full Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
  3. Have you EVER been removed, excluded, or deported from the United States?
  4. Have you EVER gambled illegally or received income from illegal gambling?
  5. Are you willing to take the full Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
  6. Have you EVER married someone in order to obtain an immigration benefit?
  7. If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States?
  8. If the law requires it, are you willing to perform noncombatant services in the U.S. armed forces?
  9. Have you EVER sold or smuggled controlled substances, illegal drugs, or narcotics?
  10. If the law requires it, are you willing to perform work of national importance under civilian direction?

About N-400 Part 12

Some of the questions on the N-400 application for naturalization (citizenship) are normal questions about your life.

  • Where do you live?
  • Do you have children?
  • What is your current address?

But, the N-400 has some very specific questions about your history. These are questions about taxes, telling the truth, crime, and more. Some questions use very specific legal vocabulary.

These questions are in Part 12 of the N-400, from page 11 to page 16. There are more than 70 questions in Part 12.

The officers usually only ask some of the questions. But, you should be ready to answer any of them.

Einstein became a US citizen, but you don’t need to be a genius!

So, what should you learn?

  1. Listen to the question, and understand it.
  2. If you don’t understand something, ask “Excuse me” or “Can you explain?”
  3. Be ready to give a clear answer to the question.
  4. Learn the meaning of the specific words (vocabulary) in the questions.

For example:

Have you ever voted in a federal, state, or local election in the U.S.?

Answers: Yes, I have / No, I haven’t

Practice Interview: Antonio Paz

N-400 Practice: Antonio Paz

Watch part of Antonio’s interview.

What do you think: Did he do great? Terrible? So-so?

What questions did you hear? Did you hear the most important question?

Eric’s favorite question is:Excuse me, can you explain that?

This is only an example. This is only part of an interview.

After you watch

What questions did you hear?

  1. What’s your full legal name?
  2. What is your marital status? Are you married? Single? Divorced? Widowed?
  3. How many times have you been married?
  4. Was your wife born in the US?
  5. Who is your wife’s employer?
  6. Do you have children?
  7. Were they born in the US? / Was she born in the US?
  8. Where do your children live? / Where does your child live?
  9. Have you spent any time outside the United States since you became a permanent resident?

Example Interview: Marcos Torres (USCIS Video)

In this example video, we can see Marcos Torres in part of his citizenship interview.

What questions do you think the officer will ask him? Make a list ✍

When you watch the video, listen to the officer’s questions and Marco’s answers. What do you think: Is he doing good? Bad? So-so?

If you have more time, you can answer these questions, too:

  1. What is the officer’s first question?
  2. In the office, she asks him to take an oath. What does she say?
    1. Do you swear or affirm that the statements you give today will be the ________, the whole ________, and nothing but the ________?
  3. To take the oath: What does he do? What does he say?
  4. What should you say if you don’t understand something?
  5. What questions did you hear the officer ask?
  6. How do you think Marco feels?

You can watch the video from minute 5:12 to 8:30.

After you watch

Do you agree that Marco did a good job? Why do you think so?

What questions did you hear?

  1. What is your name?
  2. And have you used any other names?
  3. Do you want to legally change your name?
  4. I need to see your lawful permanent resident card, all of your passports, and your state-issued identification, please.
  5. What is your date of birth?
  6. And where were you born?
  7. Are you a citizen of ____?
  8. Are either of your parents US Citizens?
  9. Are you currently single, married, divorced, or widowed?
  10. And where are you currently living?
  11. Where are you working?
  12. When was your last trip outside the United States?
  13. Do you remember the date you returned to the United States?

The day of your interview

Watch this video from USCIS with important information about the day of your interview.

You know that you should come _____________ minutes early, and the address of USCIS in Portland is _________ ________ Overton St.

But when you come to USCIS for the interview, what should you bring?

Choose 2 out of 3 (2 are correct, 1 is not necessary). For example:

Your notice of interview appointment.Permanent Resident Card.A toothbrush and toothpaste.

Correct answers: Your notice of interview appointment and permanent resident card

Passports and ID           

Your passport and Oregon ID (or drivers license)A library card with your name on it.All your expired (old) passports.

More helpful documents

Your marriage certificate (if you’re married)Your divorce papers (if you’re divorced).Flowers (if you meet someone cute at the interview)

Other legal papers

Official papers for your dog or cat (if you have one)Name change papers (if you changed your name before)Court papers (if you had a criminal problem before)

Selective Service

For men between 18-31, you should bring proof of Selective Service Registration. Please call Selective Service at 1-847-688-6888 or visit

2020 Updates

A face mask to help prevent COVID-19A stick that is 6 feet long so you will stay physically distant. A black pen

You can read the answers to the questions in the section below.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

The documents and things you really need (correct answers)

  • Notice of interview appointment
  • Permanent resident card (greencard)
  • Passport and state ID or drivers license
  • All expired passports
  • Marriage certificate or a certified copy
  • Divorce papers or a certified copy
  • Name change papers, if you changed your name before
  • Court papers, if you had a criminal problem before
  • Selective service registration proof (for men 18-31 especially)
  • Face mask
  • Black pen

Citizenship Steps: From the Application to the Oath

Citizenship Process

  1. Have you filled out the N-400?
    1. Yes I have / No I haven’t
  2. Have you sent the N-400?
  3. Have you gotten the receipt of the N-400?
  4. Have you gotten an appointment for biometrics?
  5. Have you gone to the USCIS office for biometrics?
  6. Have you gotten an appointment for your interview?
  7. Have you gone to the USCIS office for an interview?
  8. Have you taken the oath of citizenship?