Lessons to learn for naturalization interview (Part 2)
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

We continue where we left off last week.

2.) One of the interview questions involves enumeration of past residences in the past five years. After seeing the list of his past addresses, the officer asked my client: “Are these all the addresses you lived in the past five years?" My client, relatively young, said yes. I was confident the answer was correct as that was the same answer he gave me. The officer looked at him and said “I am asking you for the last time and giving you another chance, are these all the residential addresses you lived in the past five years?” My client again said yes. The officer then said: “We have records to show that you lived in other two addresses within these past five years and we would like to know why you did not disclose it to us and to your attorney." He then appeared visibly numbed and blanked out. Since that was still the first interview, I calmly told the officer that perhaps we should reschedule another hearing in order to give more time for him to recall these addresses. The interview was postponed and I never heard from the client again. I wonder what he was doing in those residences he didn’t disclose.

Lesson 2: Always tell the truth. Remember that part of the naturalization application is the FBI background check. And being the most powerful government in the world, the US has all the resources to know where you lived and what did in your past. So better tell the truth.

3.) One of the notable naturalization interviews I attended involved an 80-year old-Filipino. Nong Jose wanted to become a US citizen but after three attempts, he had no luck. Each time, he failed in the Civics part of the exam. So in his fourth try, we would practice for both his Civics and English an hour every day

in the two months leading to his interview. I tasked his daughter to ensure he observes the practice time each night. Thus, for 60 days, without fail, he practiced speaking, writing, and talking in English, even though he sounded laughable. He also memorized all the questions and answers of the Civics part and developed a mnemonic system to make sure he gets it right. On the day of the exam, he not only aced the English exam but also scored perfect on the Civics part!

Lesson 3: Prepare, prepare, prepare. Not only did Nong Jose know where his weaknesses are and overcame them, he also wasn’t complacent in his strengths. Though he passed his Civics exams in the past, he made sure that it remained his strong point. He was also very disciplined and diligent in his daily practice. As my high school teacher used to remind us: “Constant correct practice makes one perfect.” So if an 80-year-old can do it, anyone can. (To be continued)

This column is not a substitute for professional legal advice obtained from a US-licensed immigration attorney. The information contained herein does not constitute a warranty or guarantee or legal advice regarding a reader’s specific immigration case. No attorney-client relationship is and shall be established with any reader.

For any questions, comments and observations, please contact Atty. Marco Tomakin at mtomakin@gmail.com

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