Under most circumstances, anybody who files an N-400 application for naturalization would want to see it through to its end. In order to become a citizen, the applicant must attend an interview at the local district office where he or she will be tested for basic proficiency with the English knowledge as well as knowledge of American civics. In general, very few matters should take precedence over a scheduled interview but in some cases, it is just not possible to attend an interview or there is some exigent circumstance that needs to take priority.
Can the Interview Be Rescheduled?
If the applicant has a legitimate reason for not being able to attend and is able to inform USCIS well ahead of the scheduled interview, USCIS may reschedule the interview at the applicant’s request. In general, the applicant should make every effort to attend the interview as originally scheduled, as postponements are not guaranteed. Furthermore, if an interview is rescheduled, there may be a lengthy delay before one is summoned back to appear. Given this, the decision whether to request a postponement must be made judiciously and only considered when there is a bona fide reason why one cannot attend. Postponement requests should be in writing and mailed well ahead of time with proof of delivery.
What If I Miss My Initial Interview?
If you miss your initial interview for citizenship, the application will normally be considered abandoned. 8 CFR 335.6 is the regulation which governs non-appearances and states: “An applicant for naturalization shall be deemed to have abandoned…the application if he or she fails to appear for the examination…and fails to notify USCIS of the reason for nonappearance within 30 days of the scheduled examination.” The effect of this is that the case will be administratively closed.
However, all is not lost if one acts proactively to resurrect the application. The same regulation does provide that an applicant may reopen the closed application by submitting a written request within one year from the date the application was administratively closed. Fortunately, the motion to reopen does not require an additional fee.
For more information on the citizenship examination as well as the eligibility requirements, contact our office.